Orientations Towards Voluntary Childlessness

Frances E. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on a study of decision-making among voluntarily childless couples that was conducted in Britain. The discussion is based on evidence from an intensive interview survey with 38 childless husbands and wives. Four main orientations towards childlessness have been delineated, hedonistic, idealistic, emotional and practical. These are based on the decision-making processes childless couples go through. Each orientation is described, showing that childless individuals can differ markedly in their attitude towards not having children and in their values and ideas about life in general. It is maintained that these differences are important in understanding the complexities of voluntary childlessness and can have practical value in studying aspects of the phenomenon, such as forecasting changes in the pattern of childlessness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biosocial Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1983
Externally publishedYes


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