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Does Parental Death Affect Fertility? A Register-Based Study of the Effect of Parental Death on Adult Children's Childbearing Behavior in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2016 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Even though fertility and mortality are two of demography’s most researched topics, no prior study has examined at the micro level whether parental death influencesadult children’s fertility. Macro-level studies have shown that rapid increases in mortality can affect fertility rates. Parental death has also been linked to negative psychological and physical outcomes, reduced relationship quality, and making a bereaved child attach more importance to his/her family. This study applies event history techniques to Swedish multi-generation registers containing 1.5 million individuals with to micro data on mortality and fertility to investigate short-term (first birth risk) and long-term (childlessness at age 45) effects of parental death on adult children's fertility. The principal finding is that parental death during reproductive age affects children’s fertility and this effect is mainly short-term. The effects differ to some degree between men and women and depend on when in the life course the bereavement happens.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University , 2016. , 30 p.
Series
Stockholm Research Reports in Demography, ISSN 0281-8728 ; 2016:01
Keyword [en]
Fertility, Mortality, Intergenerational influences, Parental death, Timing of first birth, Event history analysis, Life course theory, Linked lives
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125944OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-125944DiVA: diva2:896143
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010-0831Swedish Research Council, 340-2013-5164Swedish Research Council, 349-2007-8701
Available from: 2016-01-20 Created: 2016-01-20 Last updated: 2016-01-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Parents, Children and Childbearing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parents, Children and Childbearing
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis provides a set of studies of social influences on fertility timing. Swedish register data are used to link individuals to their parents and siblings, thereby allowing the study of impacts of family of origin, social background, and parental death on fertility. The Swedish Medical Birth Register is used to investigate the effect of mode of delivery on higher order births. The thesis consists of an introductory chapter with an overview of the consequences and predictors of the timing of childbearing, and a theoretical framework to explain these relationships. This chapter also includes a section where the contribution to existing knowledge, the relation of the findings to life course theory, and suggestion for further research are discussed. This chapter is followed by four original empirical studies. The first study applies sister and brother correlations to investigate and estimate the impact of family of origin on fertility. It shows that family of origin matters for fertility timing and final family size. The study also shows that the overall importance of family of origin has not changed over the approximately twenty birth cohorts that were studied. The second study introduces three dimensions of social background - occupational class, status, and education - into fertility research. It suggests that social background, independent of individuals’ own characteristics, matters for the timing of first birth and the risk of childlessness. The study also shows that different dimensions of social background should not be used interchangeably. The third study uses the Swedish Medical Birth Register to investigate the effect of mode of delivery on the propensity and birth interval of subsequent childbearing. It demonstrates that mode of delivery has an impact on the progression to the second and third births but that a first delivery by vacuum extraction does not reduce the propensity of subsequent childbearing to the same extent as a first delivery by emergency or elective caesarean section. The fourth study explores the effects of parental death on adult children's fertility. The findings reveal that parental death during reproductive ages can affect children’s fertility. The effects are moderated by the gender of the child and when in the life course bereavement occurs. The combined output of these four studies provides evidence that human fertility behavior is embedded in social relationships with kin and friends throughout life. Family of origin, social background, an older sibling's birth, and bereavement following parental death influence the adult child's fertility. These findings add knowledge to previous research on intergenerational and social network influences in fertility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2016. 95 p.
Series
Stockholm University Demography Unit, ISSN 1404-2304 ; 14
Keyword
Demography, Sociology, Fertility, Intergenerational transmission, Intergenerational influences, Social background, Parental death, Timing of first birth, Mode of delivery, Sibling correlation, Event history analysis, Childlessness, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125936 (URN)978-91-7649-318-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-02-26, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010-0831Swedish Research Council, 340-2013-5164Swedish Research Council, 349-2007-8701
Available from: 2016-02-03 Created: 2016-01-20 Last updated: 2017-02-17Bibliographically approved

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