Voluntarily childless women: Traditional or nontraditional?

Abstract

The sex-role patterns of voluntarily childless women are reported from the results of an in-depth interview study that compared 30 childless, 29 delay (subjects who are currently childless, but plan to have children in the future), and 24 parent (subjects with their first child under the age of 2) wives and husbands, chosen on a purposive basis. Sex role is conceptualized as a complex variable composed of behavior, attitudes, and self-image, and as the interface between psychological and situational phenomena. The hypothesis tested is that the childless women are less traditional in sex-role orientation than either the delays or parents, indicating that psychological factors are more important than situational factors in distinguishing the groups. The data confirm the hypothesis. Exceptions to the findings are viewed in terms of sex-role changes.

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Correspondence to Susan Bram.

Additional information

The research reported in this study was supported by a grant from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations Program in Social Science, Law, and Population Policy, 1972–1973. The author wishes to thank Mary Brown Parlee and Florence Denmark for their comments on an earlier draft.

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Bram, S. Voluntarily childless women: Traditional or nontraditional?. Sex Roles 10, 195–206 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00287774

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Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Complex Variable
  • Psychological Factor
  • Situational Factor
  • Interview Study