A framework for modelling fertility motivation in couples

Popul Stud (Camb). 2004;58(2):193-205. doi: 10.1080/0032472042000213712.


We present a theoretical framework that organizes individual-level fertility motivations into a couple-level model. One feature of this framework is the Traits-Desires-Intentions-Behaviour (TDIB) sequence through which the fertility motivations of individuals produce instrumental behaviours that are designed to promote or prevent childbearing. A second feature of this framework is the cognitive capacity of individuals to perceive a partner's motivational structure. We combine these two features into a dyad-level model that addresses interactions between partners at each step of the motivational sequence. We elaborate this model first with respect to the perception of partner's motivational structure and second with respect to the combination of partner's and own motivational structure. In the process we consider how couple-level processes of communication, influence, and disagreement can be measured and studied through these interactions. We conclude with a summary discussion of the framework and a consideration of the implications it has for a theory of reproductive psychology, population surveys, and family planning services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation*
  • Spouses / psychology*