European Journal of Population

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 575–597 | Cite as

Who Delays Childbearing? The Associations Between Time to First Birth, Personality Traits and Education

  • Lara Patrício Tavares


Using data from a large-scale survey, the British Household Panel Survey, this paper assesses the influence of personality traits on the timing of first childbirth and investigates whether, and in what way, personality traits explain the differences in maternity timing across educational groups. We estimate a log-logistic model of the time to first childbirth and show that there is a statistically significant relationship between the Big Five personality traits and the timing of motherhood. The results also show that highly qualified women who are ‘open-minded’ have the lowest hazards of childbirth, lower than similar less educated counterparts.


Reproductive behaviour Fertility determinants Delayed childbearing Personality Big Five Educational status 



This work was supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia under Grant SFRH/BD/18356/2004 and ERC under Grant StG-201194. My thanks go also to John Ermisch, Emilia Del Bono, Francesco Billari, Arnstein Aassve, Maria Iacovou, Joshua Goldstein, João Bilhim, Luís Baptista, Francesca Zantomio, Priscila Ferreira and Chiara Pronzato.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAPP, Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e PolíticasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social DynamicsBocconi UniversityMilanItaly
  3. 3.CICS.NOVA, Centro Interdisciplinar de Ciências SociaisUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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