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Couple disagreement about short-term fertility desires in Austria: Effects on intentions and contraceptive behaviour

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Author(s): Maria Rita Testa

Journal: Demographic Research
ISSN 1435-9871

Volume: 26;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: childbearing decisions | contraception | couple decision-making | fertility decision-making

ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND Because of the dyadic nature of reproduction, the couple is the most suitable context forstudying reproductive decision-making. OBJECTIVE I investigate the effects of couple disagreement about short-term childbearing desires on the formulation and implementation of fertility intentions. Do men and women incorporate the perception of a disagreement with the partner about wanting a(nother) child now in their reports on short-term fertility intentions and contraceptive behaviour? Are there relevant differences by type of disagreement, parity, gender and gender equality within the couple? METHODS Using individual-level data from the Austrian Generation and Gender Survey conductedin 2008, I regress respondent's short-term fertility intentions (ordinal regression models)and non-use of contraception (logistic regression model) on couple's short-term childbearing desires and a set of background variables. RESULTS The findings show that disagreement is shifted toward a pregnancy intentionpregnancy-seeking behaviour at parity zero and toward avoiding pregnancy and maintainingcontraceptive use at higher parities. Childless women are less responsive to the perceptionof their partner's desires than childless men when they express their short-termchildbearing intentions. Neither women nor men are likely to stop contraception if they perceive a disagreement with their partner about wanting a(nother) child. Moreover, if theman is actively involved in childcare duties the chance to resolve the couple conflict in favour of childbearing increases. CONCLUSIONS This paper calls for the collection of data from both members of each couple so that theanalysis of the partner's actual desires can complement the analysis of the partner's perceived desires.
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