Understanding the reasons for parenthood

Langdridge, D.; Sheeran, P. and Connolly, K. (2005). Understanding the reasons for parenthood. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 23(2) pp. 121–133.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02646830500129438


There have been considerable changes in childbearing decision-making in the West over the last 50 years. These changes have produced a concern with understanding and predicting fertility change amongst demographers, sociologists, and psychologists. This paper presents findings from a survey ( n ?=?897) of a representative sample of white married couples in the UK currently without children. Gender differences are examined across a wide range of reasons for and against parenthood. A scale of the reasons for parenthood is developed in order to predict intentions to have a child. An 11-reason scale best predicts classification into intenders and non-intenders for both men and women. Only two demographic variables, age and marital length, also discriminate between intenders and non-intenders and these variables have both a direct and indirect effect on intentions. Most importantly for those interested in effecting behavioural change, reasons for parenthood significantly improve classification beyond that of demographic variables alone.

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