The Effects of Child Birth on Marital Satisfaction in Contemporary Japan

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Satoshi MIWA , Faculty of education, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
Natsuho TOMABECHI , Tohoku University, Japan
Marital satisfaction has been studied in family sociology all over the world.  In Japan, many empirical findings regarding the determinants of marital satisfaction have also been accumulated.  However, most prior researches in Japan have limitation of data quality because they use cross-sectional datasets or panel datasets without male respondents.  Especially, reconsidering the relationship between child birth and marital satisfaction by longitudinal analysis would be important for Japan in an era of low birthrates and high rate of unmarried people.

We examine how child birth, years from marriage, amount of time of conversation with spouse, occupational career, and socio economic status affect the levels of marital satisfaction among Japanese female and male respondents.  Our focus points are whether or not the finding that first child birth just has an impact on marital satisfaction could be reproduced, and the interaction between gender and child birth effect could be shown.

Datasets from the National Family Research of Japan, 2008-2012 Panel Study (NFRJ-08Panel) are used.  Fixed effects regression models are applied to analyze that panel datasets.

Our analytical results show that the expected relationship between child birth and marital satisfaction.  As the same with findings by prior research, first child birth has negative effect on marital satisfaction while second or later child birth do not necessary affect.  Then, we can observe the significant interaction effects between gender and first child birth on marital satisfaction.  Male respondents are more likely to decline their marital satisfaction by first child birth rather than female respondents.

These findings indicate the necessity of detailed research on the changing of life, behavior and attitude by first child birth among Japanese men.  We discuss the implication of gender difference in the fluctuation process of marital satisfaction.