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Life's Greatest Joy?: European Attitudes toward the Centrality of Children

Rachel K. Jones and April Brayfield
Social Forces
Vol. 75, No. 4 (Jun., 1997), pp. 1239-1269
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580670
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580670
Page Count: 31
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Life's Greatest Joy?: European Attitudes toward the Centrality of Children
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Abstract

This study estimates the effects of selected personal characteristics on attitudes toward the centrality of children in six European countries: Austria, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the former West Germany. Using data from the 1988 International Social Science Survey (ISSP), our analysis demonstrates that Europeans do not share a common perspective on children: Italians view children as more central, while the Dutch view children as less central, with the other countries in between. We also find that progressive attitudes toward women's work and family roles are negatively associated with favorable attitudes toward the centrality of children in all six countries, although gender itself has no significant effect in Austria, Ireland, Italy, and West Germany. Surprisingly, women are less likely than men to view children as central in Great Britain and the Netherlands.

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