The associations between early family environment and fertility ideals

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Title: The associations between early family environment and fertility ideals
Alternative title: Lapsuudenperheen ja lapsilukutoiveiden väliset yhteydet
Author: Karhunen, Oona
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Lääketieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine
Helsingfors universitet, Medicinska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Psykologian maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Psychology
Magisterprogrammet i psykologi
Specialisation: ei opintosuuntaa
no specialization
ingen studieinriktning
Abstract: Objective Fertility ideals play a crucial role in defining how many children people have during their lifetime. By studying fertility ideals and early family environment, we can better understand how attitudes towards childbearing are formed and increase our knowledge on present fertility trends. This study examined the associations between fertility ideals and several aspects of early family environment which have received little attention in previous studies. Methods Two samples derived from representative cross-sectional survey data from the Finnish Family Barometer 2015 was examined: a total sample including men and women aged 20–46 (n = 1966), and a sample including childless men and women aged 20–36 (n = 572). Poisson regression models were used to examine the associations between the ideal number of children and number of siblings, parental separation, childhood happiness, perception of one’s parents and long-term financial difficulties. The models were adjusted for age, parity, income, area of residence, employment status, partnership status and education level. Results Lower number of siblings, parental separation, and the perception of at least one parent as a bad parent were associated with lower fertility ideals regardless of parity. Unhappiness and long-term financial difficulties during childhood were associated with lower fertility ideals for childless individuals. Conclusions Family structure, events regarding parent’s marriage, and the overall perceptions of childhood and family life are associated with fertility ideals. The results suggest that the family of origin provides a compelling model for one’s own family size and shapes attitudes towards family life and parenthood.
Subject: fertility ideals
fertility preference
ideal number of children
family environment

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