Psychological Implications of Motherhood and Fatherhood in Midlife: Evidence from Sibling Models

Pudrovska, Tetyana
Working paper no. 2007-02


Using a sample comprising full, twin, half-, step-, and adopted siblings, I examine psychological consequences of motherhood and fatherhood in midlife. My analysis includes between-family models that treat siblings as independent observations, and within-family models accounting for unobserved shared genetic and environmental endowments that may confound the relationship between parenthood and well-being. Further, I examine whether the psychological impact of parenthood varies based on siblings’ genetic similarity. The findings reveal that parenthood has similar psychological implications for middle-aged mothers and fathers. The main differences arise from specific structural contexts of parenthood. The association between parenthood and mental health at midlife partly reflects shared and nonshared genetic influences. In contrast, shared early-life environment does not explain the psychological impact of parenthood.