When men choose to be childless: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Smith, Imogene, Knight, Tess, Fletcher, Richard and Macdonald, Jacqui A 2019, When men choose to be childless: an interpretative phenomenological analysis, Journal of social and personal relationships, doi: 10.1177/0265407519864444.

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Title When men choose to be childless: an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author(s) Smith, Imogene
Knight, TessORCID iD for Knight, Tess orcid.org/0000-0002-9231-9582
Fletcher, Richard
Macdonald, Jacqui AORCID iD for Macdonald, Jacqui A orcid.org/0000-0001-9451-2709
Journal name Journal of social and personal relationships
Publisher SAGE Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2019-07-25
ISSN 0265-4075
1460-3608
Keyword(s) Childbearing intentions
Childless by choice
Fertility intentions
Men
Voluntarily childless
Social Sciences
Communication
Family Studies
Psychology, Social
Psychology
Summary A growing number of individuals expressly choose to remain childless, yet research exploring these intentions in men remains scarce. This study examines the experiences, subjective reasoning, and decision-making processes of voluntarily childless Australian men near the median age for first-time fatherhood. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 Australian-resident men (28–34 years; M = 31; SD = 1.48). Participants were selected from the Men and Parenting Pathways longitudinal cohort study (N = 609) based on having stated they did not want to have children “at all.” Data were collected and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Analysis identified a superordinate theme; Fatherhood: The door is still ajar, which was marked by the men’s reluctance to unequivocally commit to a childless future. Subordinate themes were The Realization, The Talk (or lack of…), The Rationale, and The Pressure. At the normative age for transitioning to parenthood, role choices are salient. Overall, men’s decision-making process to not have children appears to be fluid and influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Despite changing social trends and acceptance of divergent life trajectories, these men are acutely aware that their intentions place them outside the norm. In policy and practice, it is important to recognize the changing norms around fatherhood timing and support voluntarily childless men and couples in constructing their identities, life course, incongruent decisions, and relationships.
Notes In press
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/0265407519864444
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1701 Psychology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2019, SAGE Publications
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30128990

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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