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On the psychological determinants of fertility: a panorama of concepts and approaches, and evidence from eastern Germany

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  • Holger von der Lippe

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    Abstract

    In this paper we study the transition to parenthood, analyzing data from three waves of a psychological longitudinal survey from Rostock, eastern Germany. We apply hazard regressions in order to predict the timing of first births of 117 men and 124 women born in 1970 and 1971. Subjects, who were in their 20s during the 1990s, made their family decisions during the most turbulent times of societal transformation in eastern Germany following unification. We hypothesized a crucial relevance of personality traits, coping-styles, and other psychological variables for the prediction of fertility in this context. Results for men show that dispositional self-actualization and internal control-styles as well as a tendency to social withdrawal decrease the probability of fatherhood. For women, dispositional emotional stability and mental health decrease the probability of motherhood, whereas a tendency toward rationalization increases it. We discuss findings in light of the gender-specific life-span development of people’s personality and control behavior.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2006-050.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2006-050.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2006-050

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

    Related research

    Keywords: Germany (Neue Bundesländer); fertility determinants; first birth; life span; psychology;

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    References

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    1. Laura Bernardi & Andreas Klärner & Holger von der Lippe, 2006. "Perceptions of job instability and the prospects of parenthood. A comparison between Eastern and Western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2004. "Fertility decisions in the FRG and GDR," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2004-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Michael Lechner, 2005. "The Empirical Analysis of East German Fertility after," Labor and Demography 0505005, EconWPA.
    4. FFF1Michaela NNN1Kreyenfeld, 2004. "Fertility Decisions in the FRG and GDR: An Analysis with Data from the German Fertility and Family Survey," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(11), pages 275-318, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. repec:ese:iserwp:2010-17 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lara Tavares, 2008. "Who delays childbearing? The relationships between fertility, education and personality traits," Working Papers 009, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.

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