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The prospective power of personality for childbearing: A longitudinal study based on data from Germany

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posted on 15.02.2021, 19:45 authored by Steffen Peters
Previous studies indicate that personality is associated with demographic processes such as mortality or family formation. However, research on the link between personality and fertility is relatively rare. In particular, longitudinal studies focusing on the predictive power of personality traits for childbearing are missing. The present study fills this gap by examining the predictive power of the Five Factor Model for the timing of the first and the second childbirth in Germany. Analyses are based on recent data (2005-2017) from the Socio-economic Panel Study. My findings from Cox Proportional Hazard Models demonstrate that personality associations with fertility differ between men and women. Contrary to previous research, no significant correlations between personality traits and fertility are found for females. Regarding extraversion, the present study shows evidence of positive associations with the first childbirth, and significant negative correlations with the second childbirth among males only. Furthermore, the analysis shows that agreeableness tends to accelerate the first and the second childbirth among men, but not among women. My study complements the current understanding of the personality-fertility association by exploring the impact of personality trait scores on subsequent fertility behavior. However, further research is needed to better understand the path from personality to childbearing; the mechanisms through which personality affects fertility; and how these links differ in various settings, such as in other cultures, for higher parities, or for births after re-partnering.


Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research




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The prospective power of personality for childbearing: A longitudinal study based on data from Germany

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310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology