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Browsing by Author "Miettinen, Katariina"

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  • Miettinen, Katariina (2022)
    Objectives: Personality traits have been associated with fertility behaviour, but associations between personality and fertility intentions, especially uncertainty in fertility intentions, have not been studied before. Uncertainty in fertility intentions is the state in which an individual is not sure whether to have (more) children. Fertility intentions have been used to project population trends and to better understand reproductive decision-making processes. In this study, uncertainty in fertility intentions is studied from a biological point of view, by examining personality traits and their associations with uncertainty in fertility intentions, as well as how these associations differ between men and women. Methods: The data used in this study was from the German family panel (pairfam). The respondents (n=4420) were childless men and women aged 18-45 years. Long-term fertility intentions were assessed with a question about how many children the respondents realistically intended to have in their lifetime, and the answers were divided into three categories, one of which represented uncertain intentions. Personality traits were assessed using a short version of the Big Five Inventory. The associations were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression, and gender differences were analyzed using interaction terms between personality traits and gender. Age, partnership status, education and residence were controlled in the analysis. Results and conclusion: All personality traits, except extraversion, were associated with fertility intentions independent of socio-demographic factors. Higher neuroticism and openness were associated with higher uncertainty in fertility intentions, whereas higher conscientiousness and agreeableness were associated with higher likelihood of intending to have children. There were no differences between men and women in these associations. Male gender, older age, not having a partner, and higher education were related to higher uncertainty in fertility intentions. The results are mostly in line with previous studies on the associations between personality and actual number of children, except for conscientiousness, which has previously been associated with lower fertility. This study strengthens the notion that biological factors have associations with fertility behaviour, stressing the importance of further research on the topic.