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The prospective power of personality for childbearing: a longitudinal study based on data from Germany
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9607-0366
Number of Authors: 12023 (English)In: Genus, ISSN 2035-5556, Vol. 79, no 1, article id 6Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The link between personality and fertility is relatively underexplored. Moreover, there are only a few studies focusing on the prospective association between personality and childbearing. However, none of these studies considered the Five-Factor Model (FFM), which is the most widely accepted measurement of personality. The present study fills this gap by examining the prospective association between the FFM and the hazard ratio of the first and the second childbirth in Germany. Analyses are based on recent data (2005–2017) from the Socio-economic Panel Study. Cox proportional hazard models are applied. Findings demonstrate that personality traits are associated with fertility. Extraversion is positively linked with the first childbirth, but is negatively associated with the second childbirth. These findings are mainly driven by males. Agreeableness is positively linked with the first childbirth across the total sample. Again, this correlation is mainly based on the findings for men, among whom a positive association between agreeableness and the second childbirth is also found. Among women, personality does not seem to be linked with the first childbirth. However, the risk of having a second child is found to be negatively associated with conscientiousness. My study adds to the current understanding of the personality–fertility association by exploring the impact of personality trait scores from the FFM on subsequent fertility behavior. However, further research is needed on the association between personality and childbearing; on the mechanisms through which personality affects fertility; and on how these links differ across cultures, among higher parities, and for births after re-partnering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 79, no 1, article id 6
Keywords [en]
Fertility, Personality, Five-factor model, Hazard ratio
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-215908DOI: 10.1186/s41118-023-00184-yISI: 000935868000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85148534544OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-215908DiVA, id: diva2:1746766
Available from: 2023-03-29 Created: 2023-03-29 Last updated: 2024-03-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Who starts a family?: The prospective association between psychological factors and family formation processes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Who starts a family?: The prospective association between psychological factors and family formation processes
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The role of psychological factors for family formation processes has been underexplored in demographic research. However, psychological concepts such as personality, identity, or skills may have become increasingly relevant for family formation processes such as marital behavior, childbearing, or partnership dissolution, in particular in countries with high levels of individualism. This dissertation aims to address this research gap in various ways. First, the dissertation chapters examine the prospective associations between personality and family formation (marriage, fertility, dissolution) (chapters 1 and 2), identity and marriage (chapter 3), and leadership skills and family formation (marriage, fertility) (chapter 4). Second, the potential mediating role of socio-economic status indicators (income, education) for these relationships is explored (chapters 2, 3 and 4). Third, full siblings are compared to each other when applicable in order to control for shared background factors such as genetics or parental background (chapters 2 and 4). For these purposes, different data sources are used including large and representative survey data from Germany (chapter 1), Swedish register data (chapters 2 and 4), and survey data from Finland (chapter 3). Methodologically, a mix of widely used analytical methods have been applied such as event-history analyses, linear probability models, or Poisson regression models including individual and sibling fixed effects. The findings of this thesis suggest that psychological factors shape family formation processes across the selected European countries (Germany, Sweden, Finland) with high levels of individualism. Personality factors linked to social abilities (extraversion, social maturity, agreeableness) generally show positive associations with childbearing (chapters 1 and 2) and the probability to get married, and negative correlations with dissolution processes (chapter 2). Emotional stability is also positively associated with family formation processes (marriage, fertility), and negatively linked with partnership dissolution (chapter 2). However, these associations only relate to patterns for males whereas females do either not show clear associations (chapter 1), or had to be neglected based on data restrictions (chapter 2). Furthermore, certainty and commitment with future life plans (as indicator for identity) are positively linked with marriage risks over time (chapter 3). Regarding leadership skills (LS), as one specific type of skills, similar associations to personality effects from study 1 and 2 have been found, i.e. LS are positively correlated with marriage and fertility (chapter 4). The mediating effects of income and education, are relatively small for all associations so that future research may examine the role of other potential mechanisms such as intentions, attitudes, or health. Additionally, sibling fixed effects approaches do not show large difference compared to the patterns that are described above.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2024
Series
Dissertation series / Stockholm University Demography Unit, ISSN 1404-2304 ; 27
Keywords
Psychological factors, family formation, personality, identity, leadership skills, marital behavior, fertility, partnership dissolution
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-227448 (URN)978-91-8014-717-0 (ISBN)978-91-8014-718-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-05-08, Hörsal 4, hus B, Södra huset, Universitetsvägen 10 and online via Zoom: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/62742453631, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-04-15 Created: 2024-03-13 Last updated: 2024-04-05Bibliographically approved

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