Being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life, isn’t it? Not for everyone and that’s fine, according to the findings of a study conducted by psychologists at Michigan State University, published in the journal Plos One. As more and more people recognize that they don’t want to just not have children, the researchers wanted to deepen the way in which these people without children differ from others in a point of view happiness.
Several profiles of non-parents
“Most studies have not asked the questions necessary to distinguish ‘childless’ individuals, those who choose not to have children, from other types of non-parents,” says Professor Jennifer Watling Neal.
The scientific team wanted to differentiate all profiles from “non-parents” because this term can also include people who are not yet parents and who plan to have children later and people without children because they cannot have them due to infertility or circumstances. “Previous studies have simply grouped all ‘non-parents’ into one category to compare them to parents,” she notes. On a representative sample of 9,000 American adults, she therefore used three questions to identify individuals who did not just wish no children separately from parents and other “non-parent” profiles. ”
No difference in life satisfaction
After controlling for demographic characteristics, the researchers found no difference in the degree of satisfaction concerning the life these people are currently leading. Differences were otherwise limited “in personality traits between parents, individuals childless by choice or by obligation and individuals who are not yet parents but who would like to be, ”they add. In addition, other results surprised them: the high number of people without children by choice. According to them, “more than one in four people in Michigan identified as such, which is much higher than the rates estimated in previous studies. ”
The scientific team believes that the method used in the study helped better capture people who identify as childless by choice, unlike studies that rely on fertility to identifyindividuals without children from a too global point of view. She calls for further research to place greater emphasis on the responses of this group of people because this study is not about when they decided not to have children or why they did. this choice. Note that a study carried out in France by INED in 2014 revealed that 5% of French people are affected. by voluntary infertility, or the choice not to want a child.