, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 265-285

Personality traits and developmental experiences as antecedents of childbearing motivation

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Childbearing motivation may be conceptualized as based upon psychological traits and shaped by experiences during childhood, adolescence, and early adult life. This paper explores what those traits and developmental experiences are. Two measures of childbearing motivation, one positive and the other negative, are described. Using a sample of 362 married men and 354 married women, the paper systematically examines the factors associated with these measures. In addition to a set of basic personality traits, these factors include parental characteristics, teenage experiences, and a number of variables from young adult behavior domains such as marriage, education, work, religion, and parental relationships. Stepwise multiple regression analyses lead to two final constrained, simultaneous-equation regression models. These models indicate the importance of both personality traits and diverse life-cycle experiences in the development of childbearing motivation, the differential gender distribution of predictors, and the different experiential antecedents of positive and negative motivation

This research was supported by Grant ROI HD23900 from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. It was originally presented at the annual meetings of the Population Association of America, held March 21–23, 1991 in Washington, DC. I am grateful to Gloria Kamenske for her support and encouragement during the early stages of this project and to David J. Pasta for his help with data analysis and his critical review of the original manuscript.