IPR Seminar: Dr. Christie Sennott, Sociology, Purdue University

August 14, 2017
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
038 Townshend Hall, 1885 Neil Ave.
Dr. Sennott

Conceptualizing Childbearing Ambivalence: A Social Perspective

Childbearing ambivalence is often operationalized as a state of conflicting desires about having a child that is characteristic of particular individuals and/or life course stages. This study proposes instead that childbearing ambivalence is dynamic and situational, resulting from the multiple socio-cultural scripts surrounding childbearing. Using prospective data from a population-based sample of young adults in southern Malawi, this study finds that 35% of women and 45% of men in the sample are ambivalent about childbearing at some point in the 2.5 year study. There is little evidence that ambivalence is related to personality traits or individual characteristics; rather, ambivalence is tied to life course markers such as being enrolled in school and aging. Finally, results show specific situations in one's environment and partnership are associated with the onset of ambivalence, lending support to the dynamic-situational approach.

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