Fertile imaginations: Young men's reproductive attitudes and preferences

Thompson, Rachel and Lee, Christina (2011) Fertile imaginations: Young men's reproductive attitudes and preferences. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 29 1: 43-55. doi:10.1080/02646838.2010.544295

Author Thompson, Rachel
Lee, Christina
Title Fertile imaginations: Young men's reproductive attitudes and preferences
Journal name Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0264-6838
Publication date 2011-02-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/02646838.2010.544295
Volume 29
Issue 1
Start page 43
End page 55
Total pages 13
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Declining fertility rates are often attributed to lack of interest in having children by new generations of men and women. However, the extent to which fertility decline is the result of entirely unconstrained personal choice is open to question. While there is a growing body of research demonstrating that young women continue to value having children, young men's perspectives remain relatively unexamined. Objective: This article aimed to contribute to understanding of contemporary fertility trends by investigating the reproductive attitudes and preferences of young adult men. Methods: 399 single, childless, Australian men aged 18-25 years completed a survey which measured their desired number of children, personal importance of fatherhood and identified reasons for and against having a child. An open-ended question also assessed participants' perceptions of the fatherhood role in the context of their future lives. Results: The overwhelming majority of men (96%) wanted to have children, and these men rated the reasons for fatherhood as significantly more influential than the reasons against parenthood. Among men that wanted to remain childfree (4%), the reasons for and against parenthood were rated as equally important. Difficulties in fulfilling the 'ideal' fatherhood role (for example, effectively combining involved fatherhood with obligations to provide for the family) were anticipated by many men and were a source of considerable concern. Conclusions: Overall, the men surveyed tended to place a high, positive value on having children, providing further evidence of misalignment between declining fertility rates and the preferences of young women and men. © 2011 Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology.
Keyword Attitudes
Qualitative methods
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Mon, 28 Feb 2011, 08:10:48 EST by Miss Rachel Thompson on behalf of School of Psychology