Midlife Parenthood and Mental Well-being: How Does Parent-Child Coresidence and Children’s Life Course Stage Matter?

Zhe Zhang , Rice University

Current research examines the effects of parenting minor children and elder parent-adult child relationship on mental health in two separate literature, yet little research focuses on midlife parents – most of whom care for both minor and adult children in the household. Using NLSY79 data, this study examines the relationship between midlife parenthood to coresidential children and psychological wellbeing among the late baby boomers, whose parenting experiences have become increasingly heterogeneous due to demographic trends including the delayed transition to parenthood and adult children’s postponed departure from the parental home. OLS regression analysis shows that compared to parents who had both coresidential minor and adult children, parents coresiding with minor children only and parents coresiding with adult children only had more psychological distress at age 40. The difference in mental health between those living with minor and adult children and those living with adult children was only prominent among mothers.

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 Presented in Session 19. Families, Health, and Well-being