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Life Events and Life Satisfaction: Estimating Effects of Multiple Life Events in Combined Models

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Michael D. Krämer, Julia M. Rohrer, Richard E. Lucas, David Richter

In: European Journal of Personality (2024), im Ersch. [online first: 2024-02-08]


How do life events affect life satisfaction? Previous studies focused on a single event or separate analyses of several events.However, life events are often grouped non-randomly over the lifespan, occur in close succession, and are causally linked,raising the question of how to best analyze them jointly. Here, we used representative German data (SOEP; N = 40,121individuals; n = 41,402 event occurrences) to contrast three fixed-effects model specifications: First, individual event modelsin which other events were ignored, which are thus prone to undercontrol bias; second, combined event models whichcontrolled for all events, including subsequent ones, which may induce overcontrol bias; and third, our favored combinedmodels that only controlled for preceding events. In this preferred model, the events of new partner, cohabitation, marriage,and childbirth had positive effects on life satisfaction, while separation, unemployment, and death of partner or child hadnegative effects. Model specification made little difference for employment- and bereavement-related events. However, forevents related to romantic relationships and childbearing, small but consistent differences arose between models. Thus, whenestimating effects of new partners, separation, cohabitation, marriage, and childbirth, care should be taken to include appropriatecontrols (and omit inappropriate ones) to minimize bias.

Keywords: Life events, life satisfaction, event co-occurrence, romantic relationships, childbirth

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