Volume 47 - Article 1 | Pages 1–36  

A dyadic approach to the study of perceived subfecundity and contraceptive use

By Ester Lazzari, Edith Gray, Bernard Baffour


Background: There is an increasing literature on women’s perception of subfecundity and contraceptive use, with studies showing that women with perceived difficulties conceiving are more likely to have an unintended pregnancy because of a lower reliance on contraception. There is little research investigating the correlates of perceived subfecundity, and quantitative investigation of couple-level perceived subfecundity appears absent from the literature, which is somewhat surprising, as the inability to have a child is a couple-level outcome. Furthermore, most studies that relate to perceived subfecundity and the use of contraception, or lack thereof, are typically limited to young adults.

Objective: The aim of this study is to explore the couple-level correlates of perceived subfecundity and to investigate the relationship between perceived subfecundity and contraceptive use among a nationally representative sample of couples.

Methods: Drawing on data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, binary and multinomial logistic regression models are estimated using the couple-dyad as the unit of analysis.

Results: Both biological and life-course interference factors are strong predictors of perceived subfecundity at the couple level, with women’s characteristics more influential than their partner’s characteristics. Additionally, couples in which at least one partner perceives subfecundity are less likely to use contraception, regardless of their short-term intentions or desire to have a child.

Contribution: Men’s and women’s characteristics differently influence the likelihood of perceiving subfecundity at the couple level and the perception of subfecundity is a relevant reason why couples do not use contraception.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

The contribution of assisted reproductive technology to fertility rates and parity transition: An analysis of Australian data
Volume 45 - Article 35

Estimating multiregional survivorship probabilities for sparse data: An application to immigrant populations in Australia, 1981–2011
Volume 40 - Article 18

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Predictive utility of key family planning indicators on dynamic contraceptive outcomes: Results from longitudinal surveys in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, and Côte d'Ivoire
Volume 50 - Article 45    | Keywords: contraception, contraceptive adoption, contraceptive discontinuation, contraceptive use, family planning, longitudinal data, methods, panel data, Performance and Monitoring for Action (PMA) surveys, sub-Saharan Africa

The intergenerational transmission of migration capital: The role of family migration history and lived migration experiences
Volume 50 - Article 29    | Keywords: childhood, emigration, Europe, immigration, life course

Union formation and fertility amongst immigrants from Pakistan and their descendants in the United Kingdom: A multichannel sequence analysis
Volume 48 - Article 10    | Keywords: assimilation, fertility, life course, migrants, sequence analysis, union formation, United Kingdom

Solo living in the process of transitioning to adulthood in Europe: The role of socioeconomic background
Volume 48 - Article 3    | Keywords: cross-national comparison, Europe, leaving home, life course, living alone, trajectories, transition to adulthood

Female sterilization in the life course: Understanding trends and differentials in early sterilization
Volume 47 - Article 18    | Keywords: contraception, female sterilization, fertility, inequality, reproduction, sterilization regret, United States of America