Relationship breakdown and subjective wellbeing – A comparative cross-country analysis

Stream: Relationships, parenting and wellbeing
Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Time: 10.45 am – 12.25 pm


Research finds that people living with a partner are happier and more satisfied with life than single people, including those who are divorced; however, the strength of this relationship appears to vary according to gender and countries. Although there is evidence that most people tend to adapt to misfortune, longitudinal research suggests that divorce and relationship separation can have long-term negative effects on the subjective well-being for those who do not repartner. It is less clear whether different country contexts affect the extent to which such divorced and separated people adapt to their circumstances, and the length of time it takes to make any such adaption. Using longitudinal data provided in Cross-National Equivalent Files, this paper examines changes in the subjective wellbeing of indivdiuals covering several years before and after relationship separation in samples drawn from five OECD countries (Australia, Britain, Germany, Switzerland and South Korea). The paper aims to assess the extent to which subjective wellbeing trajectories (before and after separation) differ across the countries for men and women, and to gain insight into factors that affect these trajectories.


Lixia Qu (Presenter), Australian Institute of Family Studies
Lixia Qu is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies

Matthew Gray, Australian National University
Professor Matthew Gray is Director of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

David Stanton, Australian National University
David Stanton is currently an Honorary Associate Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.

Ruth Weston, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Ruth Weston was formaly a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies