Can work-life balance policies foster happiness in the family? A comparison of traditional versus new family arrangements

Álvaro Martínez-Pérez


The family and work spheres are increasingly interconnected shaping some of the most fundamental social divides and inequalities in nowadays society. This paper investigates how the linkage between the family and the workplace affects wellbeing. Specifically, it focuses on the extent to which self-reported well-being, as measured by life satisfaction, for parents living in traditional (coupled mothers and fathers with dependent children) and new family arrangements (lone mothers and fathers) is affected by the use of work-life balance arrangements (formal and informal) as a coping strategy with the time pressures derived from their labour market responsibilities. Finally, the paper discusses the implications of the findings in the light of the existing work-life balance policies in a comparative European perspective.

This paper is an early version of a chapter forthcoming in Tachibanaki, T. ed (2016) Advances in Happiness Research: A Comparative Perspective, Springer (ISBN-10: 4431557520; ISBN-13: 978-4431557524). The DOI of the chapter is: DOI 10.1007/978-4-431-55753-1_15.