Delayed childbearing : a planned behaviour or an unintentional outcome?
Knowledge levels of issues related to fertility, reproduction, and assisted reproductive technology (ART) are low among the general population. There have also been increasing trends for women to delay childbearing and for many individuals to turn to various forms of ART to aid reproduction. Many commentators assume the provision of information targeting fertility related issues and ART will be influential in altering women’s intentions related to delay childbearing, but there is a lack of both empirical and theoretical evidence to support this assumption. Further, suggestions for how to provide education related to fertility and ART have not yet been examined. The present study examined the applicability of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) for predicting women’s intentions to delay childbearing and whether the provision of detailed, accurate, and accessible information regarding reproduction, factors influencing fertility, and the limitations of fertility treatments would alter individual attitudes and levels of perceived control surrounding delayed childbearing. Participants received one of two informational interventions (i.e., fertility-related or alcohol-related information) then completed a questionnaire measuring the constructs of the theory of planned behavior. It was predicted that the theory of planned behavior would provide an adequate framework for examining women’s intentions to delay childbearing in that attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived control would all emerge as significant predictors of these intentions (hypothesis 1). It was also predicted that the provision of detailed, accurate and accessible information regarding reproduction, factors influencing fertility, and the limitations of fertility treatment would alter young women’s intentions to delay childbearing (hypothesis 2). Multiple regression analyses provided support for Hypothesis 1 and substantiated that TPB provides an adequate framework for examining women’s intentions to delay childbearing. Hypothesis 2 was partially supported such that the intervention groups significantly differed with respect to their delayed childbearing intentions. However, most of the women in this sample did not evidence intentions to delay childbearing into critical fertile periods. Future research is warranted to examine the theory of planned behavior’s ability to predict delayed childbearing over time, across cohorts, and amongst men, as well as the impact of improved reproductive technologies and media reports of fertility on intentions to delay childbearing.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeDowne, Pamela; Pierson, Roger
Copyright DateAugust 2013
theory of planned behaviour