A comparative analysis of childless women with low birth expectations Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ww72bf046

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  • In response to the growing preference for the small family, this study was carried cut to acquire information about women who expect zero, one, or two children. The purposes of the study were: to identify the cultural and socioeconomic characteristics of these women; and to determine which of these characteristics were predictors of their expected number of children. Using interview data from the 1973 National Survey of Family Growth, the sample was restricted to 401 childless white wives. The 401 wives were divided into three groups, 70 wives who expected zero children, 31 wives who expected one child, and 300 wives who expected two children. Initially, frequency distributions were tabulated for each group across fifteen of the wives' characteristics. From one-way analyses of variance and chi-square testa, it was determined that the three groups were statistically different by current age, age at first marriage, length since first marriage, postmarital duration of employment, and size of current residence. In the second stage of the research, the characteristics were categorized into two models based on the utility framework. One model consisted of four cultural background variables, while the second model consisted of four individualism variables. In the latter model, age of the woman was a control variable. Multiple classification analyses were performed to determine the ability of each model to explain the variations in birth expectations. For two of the six analyses performed, the explanatory power of the model was significantly better than chance. These two analyses were the cultural background model comparison of wives expecting zero children and wives expecting two children, and the individualism model comparison of wives expecting one child and wives expecting two children. Tests of significance for each variable separately revealed that, with few exceptions, no one variable contributed a significant amount of information to the explanatory power of the models. However, the two residence variables generally contributed more information than size of family of orientation and religiosity to the explanatory power of the cultural background model. The variables age at marriage/ duration of marriage, and education/occupation were more important than family income/current labor force status and employment experience in contributing to the explanatory power of the individualism model. The major conclusion from this study was that the two models developed to test the utility framework were moderately successful in explaining the variations in the wives' birth expectations. In the study, descriptive information was acquired concerning the characteristics of wives expecting zero, one, or two children. This knowledge provides a foundation for understanding more about the childbearing decision process for women with low birth expectations, as well as motivations toward parenthood or nonparenthood.
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