‘Empty nest’ homes enhance marital joys among parentsDecember 3rd, 2008 - 4:12 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Dec 3 (IANS) ‘Empty nest’ conjures up images of sad and lonely parents, waiting patiently for their children to call or visit home. However, a new study suggests that an ‘empty nest’ may have beneficial effects on the parents’ marriage.
University of California Berkeley (UCB) psychologists Sara M. Gorchoff, Oliver P. John and Ravenna Helson tracked marital satisfaction of a group of women over 18 years, aged between forties and sixties.
The results revealed that marital satisfaction increased as the women got older and more so when they stayed with the same partners and for women who remarried.
What was most striking about the results was that women who had made the transition to an empty nest increased more in marital satisfaction than women who still had children at home.
Even more interesting, it was shown that an empty nest does not increase levels of marital satisfaction simply because the parents have more time to spend with each other, said a UCB release.
Instead the results suggest that women whose children had left home enjoyed their time with their partners more compared to women whose children were still at home.
In other words, it was an increase in the quality, and not the quantity, of time spent together once children moved out, that led to increases in marital satisfaction.
Gorchoff is quick to point out that the results do not suggest that all children should be sent away to boarding school for the sake of their parents’ marriage.
These findings were reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.