Regretting fatherhood in Spain




parental regret, paternal regret, working conditions, work-life balance, childcare


Objective: In this first study of its kind in Spain, we analyse the scope of and reasons underlying paternal regret.

Background: Research on parental regret, a subject only recently broached by analysts, tends to focus on motherhood. Regretting fatherhood has been only scantly researched. In this study we test the effects of intensive fathering, the use of different care resources, economic and employment conditions, and satisfaction with respondents’ partnership on their regret for having children.

Method: The analysis is based on an online survey of parents of children under 7 years old (QUIDAN Survey) A total of 3100 parents were interviewed, with the sample evenly distributed by sex and youngest child’s age, and proportional by parents’ highest level of schooling and place of residence. The weighted subsample used in this article included 1374 fathers. The hypotheses are tested with logistic regression.

Results: The social factors associated with a greater likelihood of regret include circumstances that challenge men’s role as primary breadwinner, a negative impact of fatherhood on job career, a high dependence on grandparents for balancing working and private lives and partnership dissatisfaction. A relationship between intensive fathering and regret could not be observed.

Conclusion: The findings show the extent of paternal regret to be fairly limited, similar to the proportion reported for maternal regret. Paternal regret is mainly associated with family and working circumstances.


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How to Cite

Meil, G., Romero-Balsas, P., & Muntanyola-Saura, D. . (2022). Regretting fatherhood in Spain. Journal of Family Research.



Special Issue "Fathers in Europe: Policies, Constructions and Practices"