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The modi vivendi of families with children: well-being between child-rearing and work

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The aim of this research was to delineate how families with children aged 0–13 manage their well-being, which mainly depends on the balance between two main components, which are child-rearing and work. For the purpose of this study, family well-being is regarded, according to Archer’s morphogenetic theory, as the well-balanced order of family members’ ultimate concerns which gives rise to a sustainable modus vivendi for the whole family. To explain how a family establishes its own modus vivendi as a specific set of practices, Donati’s relational approach is used, based on the assumption that a relational reflexivity is what steers a family agency and its interaction with structural conditioning. Depending on different cultural and structural factors (financial resources, family form, geographical area of residence), families can be expected to adopt specific ways of life and derive their overall life satisfaction from different elements. The present article is aimed at verifying this hypothesis through a secondary analysis of data from the ISTAT Multipurpose Survey on Households: Aspects of Daily Life – 2012, including a sample of 3,745 families with children aged 0–13. Results show that the ways of life (modi vivendi) of families with children aged 0–13 vary significantly. Furthermore, satisfaction with work and with family relationships plays a key role in predicting overall life satisfaction, thus overshadowing the importance of the financial situation.
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Keywords: Bienestar; Well-being; conciliación familia-trabajo; morphogenetic theory; relational sociology; sociología relacional; teoría morfogenética; work–family reconciliation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Family Studies and Research University Centre, Catholic University of Sacred Hearth, Milano, Italy

Publication date: August 7, 2020

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