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There are simply always enough good reasons against having a child! : fears and worries about motherhood among childless, highly educated Austrian women

Es gibt immer noch genug Gründe gegen einen Kinderwunsch! Ängste und Sorgen in Bezug auf Mutterschaft unter kinderlosen hochqualifizierter Frauen aus Österreich
[conference paper]

Fliegenschnee, Katrin

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Corporate Editor Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS)
Abstract "The starting point of the project was the question why people delay childbearing until later in life. Based on qualitative, problem-centred interviews with highly educated women in Vienna, this article investigates the effect of fears and uncertainties relating to this issue. The data were analysed with a combination of grounded theory and objective hermeneutic sequence analysis. The recent literature comprises works about the impact of uncertain economic conditions on fertility. To explain these issues, the New Home Economics approach has developed the idea of opportunity costs. The assessment of the present economic situation and future prospects produce insecurity and fears. The Second Demographic Transition assumes that 'individual autonomy' and 'female emancipation' are the main reasons for delaying family formation. Some theoretical considerations by Easterlin, and Ajzen's and Fishbein's theory of planned behaviour are useful for elucidating other parts of the results. The discussed theories are all relevant for explaining different dimensions of fears and worries concerning motherhood. Moreover, some findings showed a somewhat different situation to the one often discussed in the literature. Apparently economic uncertainty is not the only decisive factor in fertility decisions. Women have the feeling that they are expected to carefully reflect about the consequences of their behaviour, which produces fears of acting irresponsibly. Some women find it difficult to reconcile the conflicting roles of being a good mother and being a career woman. Others worry that they might not live up to expectations - be it their own or those of others. From the women's point of view, they will always lose out on something, no matter whether they decide for or against having a child. For highly educated women in Vienna, fertility is definitely an issue that involves a lot of fears and uncertainties." (author's abstract)
Keywords Austria; woman; highly qualified worker; desire for children; childlessness; Vienna; grounded theory; hermeneutics; microeconomic factors; impact; anxiety; risk; demographic factors; emancipation; motherhood; determinants; role; conflict; career; fertility
Classification Family Sociology, Sociology of Sexual Behavior; Women's Studies, Feminist Studies, Gender Studies
Method documentation; empirical; qualitative empirical; theory application
Collection Title Die Natur der Gesellschaft: Verhandlungen des 33. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Kassel 2006. Teilbd. 1 u. 2
Editor Rehberg, Karl-Siegbert
Conference 33. Kongress "Die Natur der Gesellschaft". Kassel, 2006
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Publisher Campus Verl.
City Frankfurt am Main
Page/Pages p. 5620-5630
ISBN 978-3-593-38440-5
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications