Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 1–24 | Cite as

Attitudes About Children and Fertility Limitation Behavior

  • Sarah R. Brauner-OttoEmail author


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.


Attitudes Contraception Fertility Nepal 



This project was supported by several sources: Award Number R01HD032912 and a training Grant (NIH/NRSA T32 HD07168) both from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan, and the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I thank William Axinn, Jennifer Barber, Susan Murphy, Arland Thornton, and participants in the CPC Postdoc work group for comments on earlier versions and the staff of the Institute for Social and Environmental Research, Chitwan, Nepal, for their assistance in data collection. Any errors are the responsibility of the author. This research does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development or the National Institutes of Health. Direct correspondence to Sarah R. Brauner-Otto, Department of Sociology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762; email:


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

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