, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 46–66 | Cite as

Childlessness revisited: A longitudinal study of voluntarily childless couples, delayed parents, and parents

  • Susan Bram


A seven-year follow-up study of couples who were voluntarily childless, delayed parents, and parents was carried out utilizing questionnaire items from the original study by the author (Bram, 1974). At the time of the follow-up, the subjects were 33 years of age and were married nine years, on the average, thus facilitating an investigation of childbearing decisions over the life cycle. Data were collected on attitudes toward children and parenthood, self-image, marriage, lifestyle, and goals. Most of the original fertility statuses and expectations have held true: over two-thirds of the Childless have remained childless and most of the Delays have had children. Although the Childless are still relatively more nontraditional than the Delays and Parents, as in the original study, there are some convergences among the groups, e.g., the Delay and Parent women have become more achievement-oriented over time. There are divergences in the development of attitudes among the Childless men and women in regard to the meaning of childlessness and the value of work. The perceived quality of life varies according to both gender and fertility status, with the Delays expressing the greatest dissatisfaction.


Life Cycle Longitudinal Study Social Policy Social Issue Original Study 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Bram
    • 1
  1. 1.New York Hospital—Cornell Medical CenterUSA

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