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Social Determinants of Age at First Birth
Ronald R. Rindfuss and Craig St. John
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 45, No. 3 (Aug., 1983), pp. 553-565
Published by: National Council on Family Relations
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351660
Page Count: 13
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A woman's first birth is one of the most significant events in her life. It signifies her taking on the roles and responsibilities of a mother, often to the exclusion of further education and career-building roles. The earlier these roles and responsibilities are undertaken, the less likely are alternatives to be taken and the greater is the expected quantity and pace of subsequent childbearing. Consequently, this paper explores the social determinants of the timing of the first birth. A model is developed and tested in which a number of social factors are hypothesized to affect age at first birth. Age at first birth is allowed to have a reciprocal effect on education; thus, the model is nonrecursive. Education at marriage is the most important predictor of age at first birth, and the relationship is positive. Although a few social determinants do have a direct effect on age at first birth (such as race, religion, and smoking at young ages), most determinants affect age at first birth through education.
Journal of Marriage and Family © 1983 National Council on Family Relations