What is it about?

This study uses national data collected in Singapore to examine whether a father taking paternity leave may affect family dynamics and children’s social-emotional well-being in early childhood. We found that when a father takes a 2-week or longer paternity leave, the family has lower conflicts, and the mother feels less stress in parenting and is more satisfied with their marriage. Fathers who take paternity leave tend to be more involved in childcare and have a closer relationship with the child. Through this process, paternity leave-taking is linked to fewer behavior problems when children turn 3-6.

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Why is it important?

Relatively short paternity leave (two weeks) can have long-term benefits for family relations and children’s social-emotional well-being. These results have policy implications for countries that are seeking solutions to improve gender equality and family dynamics to boost the low marriage and fertility rates, particularly in societies where patriarchy is prevalent.


This is the first study in Asia that uses rigorous methods to empirically show that fathers taking a 2-week or more paternity leave is good for family relationships and children's well-being. This is an important study as many Asian countries still have no paternity leave or very short paternity leave. We show that paternity leaves that are shorter than 2 weeks may not be beneficial. Thus, we urge countries to provide 2 weeks or more paternity leave to fathers to improve family and children's well-being.

Professor Wei-Jun Jean Yeung
National University of Singapore

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Paternity leave, family dynamics, and children's behavior in Singapore, Journal of Marriage and Family, November 2022, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12896.
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