Some characteristics of intentionally childless wives in Britain

Frances Baum, David R. Cope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Intentional childlessness in Britain has been investigated by means of a postal questionnaire survey of married women who to date had never had a child. These wives were categorized according to their fertility intentions. As a group the wives were well-educated, likely to be employed and to be married to men in professional or managerial occupations, although there were some with husbands in manual occupations. The main reason perceived by the wives for their decision not to have children was the value they placed on the freedom they consequently gained. A majority of the wives felt there were no disadvantages in remaining childless. The remainder who felt that there were disadvantages identified these as: missing the positive features of children; possible loneliness and lack of support in old age; feelings of deviancy; and economic and social discrimination resulting from their childlessness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-300
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biosocial Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1980
Externally publishedYes


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