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To desire and to choose: aspects of women's and men's urge to have children
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
1994 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to increase available knowledge about women's and men’s desire for pregnancy and for a child/children to serve as a basis for further studies of problems and inconsistencies in the reproductive sphere. The motivation to become a parent was hypothesized as being not only of an existential, social, interpersonal and intrapsychic character but also a biologically anchored personality trait.

The first part of the study deals with the development of a method for collecting valid information concerning this intimate and personal sphere of life and to categorize this information into measurable dimensions. A questionnaire was constructed and factor analysis was used as a statistical tool. There are two versions of the final instrument, one for women and one for men. Interviews were used as a means of testing the validity of the instrument. Experiences from the methodological development process revealed that it was meaningful to deal with the issue though suitable wording was not easily found.

In the main part of the study, two large populations, one reference group of 416 women and 329 men of fertile ages and one group of expecting parents, 369 women and 345 men, were investigated by means of the questionnaire. Attitudes were dominated by two opposing views of children: 'Children mean existential satisfaction' and 'Children mean restriction of freedom'. This confirmed the findings of earlier studies and clinical experience that ambivalence is a natural phenomenon, that may be associated with feelings of guilt. The view of one's own parents as models in parenthood was a third important dimension. The view of the child's sex was a fourth important and complex dimension.

The similarities between women and men were striking. There were only subtle differences between reference women and pregnant women. Reference men and child-expecting men had different response patterns, child-expecting men emphasizing more the advantages of having children.

In the last part of the study 48 women were followed during pregnancy and after childbirth using the questionnaire and determination of levels of the intestinal peptide gastrin. Gastrin may be a marker of energy-storing characteristics, thus influencing reproductive capacity. There were some attitudinal differences between 0-parous women and parous women, the latter agreeing less with the view of 'children as restriction of freedom'. The view of 'children as existential satisfaction' was agreed with more after childbirth than during pregnancy. The view of one’s own parents as models in parenthood correlated with the levels of gastrin during this period.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1994. , p. 69
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 426
Keyword [en]
Urge for children, ambivalence, reproductive choice, attitudes towards reproduction, conflicting views, childbearing motivation, gastrin, biopsychosodal
National Category
Psychiatry Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-140755ISBN: 91-7174-992-6 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-140755DiVA, id: diva2:1150327
Projects
digitalisering@umu.se
Available from: 2017-10-18 Created: 2017-10-18 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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PsychiatryObstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

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CiteExportLink to record
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