Procreation can do more than give new life. It can also expand the longevity of the procreator.
According to a 14-year study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, parents live longer than people who don’t have children. Even adoptive parents.
More from the journal:
Compared to childless women, women who gave birth were four times more likely to survive the study, and adoptive mothers had a 33 percent lower rate of death. Both biological and adoptive fathers were about 50 percent less likely than childless men to die during the study. Overall, people without children were more likely to drink alcohol, and more likely to suffer from a fatal cardiovascular disease or accident. However, parents were just as susceptible to mental illness as non-parents.
This study doesn’t account for whether the parent has to be actively involved in the child’s life (though it is assumed). Nor does it address if this is causation or simply correlation — perhaps parents “live longer” merely because of adjustments needed to ensure their own survival so they can raise a child.
Either way, this is an interesting find. Often, people cite an aversion to stress as reason to not have children without considering the de-stressing aspect. For some, parenthood can spur growth and a deeper engagement with life. For others, it can bring gray hairs and elicit endless groans.