Volume 29 - Article 8 | Pages 203–232  

Fertility intentions: An approach based on the theory of planned behavior

By Icek Ajzen, Jane Klobas

This article is part of the Special Collection 16 "Theoretical Foundations of the Analysis of Fertility"


Objective: To discuss issues and concerns in the application of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to the decision to have a child.

Methods: We review the basic structure of the TPB, its principles, and its assumptions as they apply to fertility decisions. Among other issues we consider attitudes, subjective norms, and perceptions of control as antecedents to the decision to have a child; the expectancy-value model for understanding the formation of these antecedents; and the role of background factors, such as institutional policies, societal values, and personal characteristics. We illustrate key elements of the TPB using results from a multinational research project and end by considering a number of open questions for TPB-guided fertility research.

Conclusions: We conclude that the TPB can usefully be employed to further our understanding of fertility decisions. By examining behavioral, normative, and control beliefs about having a child we can identify important considerations that influence this decision. The information obtained can also guide adoption of policies or interventions designed to encourage (or discourage) couples to have more children.

Author's Affiliation

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

A new look at contraceptive prevalence plateaus in sub-Saharan Africa: A probabilistic approach
Volume 50 - Article 31    | Keywords: contraceptive prevalence plateaus, demand for family planning, family planning, modern contraceptive prevalence, probabilistic model

The big decline: Lowest-low fertility in Uruguay (2016–2021)
Volume 50 - Article 16    | Keywords: adolescent fertility, birth order, fertility, Latin America, ultra-low fertility, Uruguay

Cohort fertility of immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union
Volume 50 - Article 13    | Keywords: age at first birth, assimilation, cohort analysis, fertility, immigration, parity, religiosity

Fertility decline, changes in age structure, and the potential for demographic dividends: A global analysis
Volume 50 - Article 9    | Keywords: age structure, demographic dividend, demographic transition, fertility, migration, population momentum, working-age population

Does the fulfillment of contraceptive method preferences affect contraceptive continuation? Evidence from urban Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal
Volume 50 - Article 5    | Keywords: contraceptive discontinuation, contraceptive dynamics, contraceptive preferences, contraceptive use, family planning, patient-centered approach, preferences