Becoming a Parent in Sweden: Differences between Men's and Women's Attitudes about Parenthood and in Their Relationship to Later Childbearing

Eva Bernhardt, Stockholm University
Fran Goldscheider, Brown University

We analyze Swedish survey data on perceived positive and negative consequences of parenthood among young adults aged 22-30. Our results show that both men and women regard parenthood as something that makes life more meaningful, but men are more likely than women to perceive negative consequences of parenthood, such as loss of personal freedom, economic problems, less time for friends. Preliminary bivariate analyses of the effect of parenthood attitudes on the transition to parenthood indicate that such attitudes are important for later behavior. This paper will report on these findings in more detail, and also pursue the question whether the arrival of a (first) child has positive, neutral or negative effect on parenthood attitudes. This analysis has become possible since there is now a second wave of the survey, conducted in the spring of 2003, four years after the first survey.

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Presented in Session 108: Men's Reproductive Lives: A Developed Country Perspective