Children Can Make You Happier, But Only After They've Left Home: Study

TUESDAY, Aug. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Having children can make you happier, but only when you're older and if your children have moved out, a new study finds.

Researchers surveyed 55,000 people, 50 and older, in 16 European countries about their mental health and found that the "the positive aspects of parenthood dominate when getting older," CNN reported.

One of the main reasons for that conclusion is that children offer a form of social support, according to the authors of the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They noted that social support networks are associated with greater happiness and less loneliness and can provide a cushion against stressful events, CNN reported.

"As stress associated with balancing the competing demands of childcare, work and personal life decreases, once people get older and their children leave (home), the importance of children as caregivers and social contacts might prevail," study leader Christoph Becker, Heidelberg University, Germany, and colleagues wrote.

The study also found that having children who still live at home can harm older parent's mental well-being, CNN.

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