Ambivalence and Uncertainty in Reproductive Decision-Making

Monika Mynarska , Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

Childbearing decisions are loaded with uncertainty. In Poland, almost 40% of respondents answer “probably yes” or “probably no” when asked about their intention to have a child in the next three years. It remains unclear, however, whether their doubts are related to the given time perspective or whether the respondents are unsure about the idea of having a (another) child at all. To shed light onto this issue, I will investigate how positive, negative, indifferent and ambivalent attitudes towards childbearing are related to fertility intentions. In the second wave of the Polish GGS, scales on perceived costs and benefits of parenthood were introduced to measure the strength of positive and negative feelings about childbearing. The scales allow to identify individuals, who clearly favour parenthood (perceive high benefits and low costs related to having children), who show anti-natal attitude (perceive low benefits and high costs of childbearing), but also those, who are ambivalent or indifferent about the issue. In the paper, the characteristics of the four categories of respondents will be described and their fertility intentions will be examined. Similar analyses will be performed using the first wave of the Polish GGS that contains only a few, standard questions on attitudes towards children. These analyses will allow verifying whether the findings can be replicated using items that are less refined, but available for a large number of countries, opening door for cross-country analyses on ambivalence in reproductive decision-making.

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 Presented in Session 124. Fertility Intentions