, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 1-24

Attitudes About Children and Fertility Limitation Behavior

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Abstract

The relationship between attitudes and individual behavior is at the core of virtually all demographic theories of fertility. This paper extends our understanding of fertility behavior by exploring how psychic costs of childbearing and contraceptive use, conceptualized as attitudes about children and contraception, are related to the transition from high fertility and little contraceptive use to lower fertility and wide spread contraceptive use. Using data from rural Nepal, I examine models of the relationship between multiple, setting-specific attitudes about children and contraception and the hazard of contraceptive use to limit childbearing. Specific attitude measures attempt to capture the relative value of children versus consumer goods, the religiously based value of children, and the acceptability of contraceptive use. Findings demonstrate that multiple measures of women’s attitudes about children and contraception were all independently related to their fertility limitation behavior.