A team of researchers led by Christoph Becker at Heidelberg University in Germany found that they tend to be happier than non-parents in old age.
Previous research has suggested that parenthood, social networks and marital status affect the well-being and mental health of older people.
Scientists asked 55,000 people age 50 and over from 16 European countries about their mental well -being, and results suggest "the positive aspects of parenthood dominate when getting older."
"One of the biggest factors in children's social inclusion and social exclusion" is that it is a source of social support home already, "the study says.
" As stress associated with balancing the competing demands of people childcare, work and personal life decreases, the importance of children as caregivers and social contacts might prevail. "
A report by Princeton University and Stony Brook University published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found "very little difference" between the life satisfaction of parents and people without children, once other factors – such as income, education, religion and health – were factored out, Arthur said Stone, one of the study's co-authors.
Another study, by the Open University in England, found childless couples were happier with their relationships and their partners than parents, and were doing more work on their relationships than parenting couples.