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Parenting intentions : an examination of socialization, situation and identity factors associated with the parenting intentions of university women Burton, Kim Siobhan


The purpose of the study was to determine socialization, situational, and identity factors which distinguish university women based on their parenting intentions. The specific factors examined were: birth order, size of family of origin, ethnicity, knowing a voluntarily childfree woman, religion and religiosity, educational and occupational aspirations, self-esteem, and gender-role identity. Three groups of 34 women, ages 18 to 26, were randomly selected from 381 respondents to surveys sent to 1,000 women in 2 University of British Columbia residences. Respondents were assigned to 1 of the 3 groups based on their parenting intentions. The "childfree" group consisted of women who definitely intended to never have children (N = 10), and women who probably intended to never have children (N = 24). The other two groups consisted of women who were probably intending to have children ("probably yes"), and definitely intending to have children ("definitely yes"). The surveys consisted of a questionnaire to determine demographic information as well as the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory, and the Bern Sex Role Inventory to determine gender-role identity. Protected F tests and chi-square analyses were conducted on the data. At the p < .05 level of significance no association was found between respondent's parenting intentions and whether they knew a voluntarily childfree woman, their birth order, or their ethnicity. A statistically significant difference was not found between the three parenting intentions groups in family size, educational aspirations, status of occupational aspirations, or self-esteem. A statistically significant association was found between parenting intentions and whether an occupation was male or female dominated: "childfree" women more frequently aspired to a male dominated occupation, "probably yes" women aspired to male and female occupations at expected frequencies, and "definitely yes" women more often aspired to female dominated occupations. An association was found to exist between gender-role identity and parenting intentions at p < .01. "Childfree" women more frequently had masculine gender-role identities than "definitely yes" women, who more often had feminine and androgynous gender-role identities. An association was found between religion and parenting intentions at p < .05: "childfree" women were less likely to be affiliated with a religion than "probably yes" and "definitely yes" women. A statistically significant difference was found between the three parenting intentions groups at p < .05 on religiosity. The "childfree" group was found to have lower religiosity than both the "probably yes" and "definitely yes" groups. The research findings appear to indicate that university women who intend to remain childfree are in some ways less traditional than women who intend to have children.

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