Child intentions – the starting point in demographic behaviour?

Norbert S. Neuwirth, Austrian Institute for Family Studies
Andreas Baierl, Austrian Institute for Family Studies
Georg Wernhart, Austrian Institute for Family Studies

Recent surveys on demographic behaviour show wide differences regarding the height of the child intention within the populations surveyed. Within the Gender and Generations Programme (GGP) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) this central issue has been surveyed via a harmonized representative survey in each participating country. Compared to respective surveys, the mean numbers for child intention seem to be rather high, but – in contrast to most corresponding surveys in the past – we now have an empirical instrument for international comparative multilevel analysis. Following mainly the theoretical framework of the “Theory of Reasoned Action” (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) and it’s extended relaunch, the “Theory of Planed Behavior” (Ajzen, 1991) we model child intentions in two alternative ways: (1) within generalized linear models and (2) on the basis of structural equation models. Within both approaches we focus on the influence of “perceived behavioral control” (Ajzen, 1991) on the variations of child intentions, especially of age cohorts at the upper end of the fertile life span. Therefore we control – beside standard status indicators – for expectations of the respondents on personal events in the near future (e.g. changing the job; perceived stability of the partnership;…) relate this information to the respective event history path and to individual norms and attitudes. The analysis will be focused on demographic behavior in Austria, the main findings will be compared to selected GGP-countries.

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Presented in Poster Session 1