Social psychological influences on fertility intentions: A study of eight countries in different social, economic and policy contexts
Klobas, J. (2010) Social psychological influences on fertility intentions: A study of eight countries in different social, economic and policy contexts. Bocconi University. Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics, Vienna, Austria/Milan, Italy.
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This research is written within the framework of the European Commission project “Reproductive decision-making in a macro-micro perspective” (REPRO). It describes work completed within REPRO Work Package 3 on micro-level modelling of social psychological influences on reproductive decision making by individuals, specifically, the formation of intention to have a first or second child. The report introduces the macro level context within which the work was conducted and the theory of planned behavior (TPB), the social psychological model of human behaviour that guided the work, linking the TPB to other work in demography on psychological influences on the formation of intention to have a child. After identifying parity and age as the contexts across which intention to have a child differ most, structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to permit comparisons of both differences in the relevance of individual attitudinal beliefs, normative referents and control factors in eight countries (Bulgaria, Russia, Georgia, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy and Romania), and differences in the relative influence of attitudes, perceived norms and perceived behavioural control on the intentions of females aged 25 to 34 year old to have their first or second child in these countries. A comparison of the relative influence of attitudes, norms and perceived control among childless Bulgarian females under 25 and between 25 to 34 years old demonstrates how influences on fertility decision making differ by age. Exploration of the potential of three macro level contexts (wealth, employment stability and family- and child-friendly policy) to explain differences in intention to have a second child showed that policy context provided a more satisfactory explanation overall than national wealth or employment stability, although employment stability provided an explanation of differences in material control and none of these contexts adequately explained the observed patterns of the country level differences in influences on intention to have a second child. The formation of intention to have a child appears to differ in quite complex ways across different individual and national contexts. An implication for development of policy to enable and encourage Europeans to have more children is that policies may need to be more closely targeted to the needs of individuals in quite specific individual contexts. This work has taken some initial steps toward uncovering the complexity, but more needs to be done and the report includes some considerations about directions for future research.
|Series Name:||Report to the European Commission within the Project "Reproductive decision-making in a macro-micro perspective" (REPRO)|
|Publisher:||Bocconi University. Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics|
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