Volume 29 - Article 8 | Pages 203–232

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

By Icek Ajzen, Jane Klobas

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Date received:23 Aug 2012
Date published:31 Jul 2013
Word count:7177
Keywords:family planning, fertility, theory of planned behavior
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection “Theoretical Foundations of the Analysis of Fertility” at http://www.demographic-research.org/special/16/


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

Icek Ajzen - University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States of America [Email]
Jane Klobas - Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Italy [Email]

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