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Women’s attitudes towards children and motherhood: A predictor of future childlessness?

Authors:

Melissa Graham ,

Deakin University, AU
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Carly Smith,

Deakin University, AU
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Margaret Shield

Deakin University, AU
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Abstract

Pronatalism expects and presumes that all women will be mothers, and stereotypes, stigmatises and excludes those who fail to conform. Yet, within the context of pronatalism, little is known about women without children’s attitudes towards motherhood, and their subsequent childbearing. This study aimed to determine if women’s attitudes towards children and motherhood predicted future motherhood status, using data from the Negotiating the Life Course Study. Women 18 years and over at Wave 1, who did not have children, were included in the analysis (n = 122). Logistic regression was used to predict motherhood status at Wave 4 based on attitudes at Wave 1. A positive attitude toward the importance of children in one’s life increased the likelihood of future motherhood, while believing children negatively impact on freedom increased the likelihood of not future childlessness. Findings also suggested that attitudes relating to the burden of children, or the impact of children on a woman’s career, are similar for those who do and do not become mothers. Women’s attitudes towards children and motherhood may be a poor predictor of future childlessness. This study counters some of the negative attitudinal stereotypes towards childless women in a pronatalist society.

How to Cite: Graham, M., Smith, C. and Shield, M., 2015. Women’s attitudes towards children and motherhood: A predictor of future childlessness?. Journal of Social Inclusion, 6(2), pp.5–18. DOI: http://doi.org/10.36251/josi.81
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Published on 17 Dec 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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