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Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Children: Gender Comparisons among Childfree Husbands and Wives

Karen Seccombe
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 191-202
DOI: 10.2307/353143
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353143
Page Count: 12
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Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Children: Gender Comparisons among Childfree Husbands and Wives
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Abstract

Using data from a nationally representative sample, this research investigates the perceptions held by childfree married males and females, who are in their childbearing years, of the costs and benefits of having children. Additionally, drawing upon the premise of exchange theory, it explores the effects of socioeconomic status and gender role values upon these assessments. It was found that childfree males in the sample were more pronatalistic than females: husbands rated the general importance of having children higher than did wives, and they were more apt to want to have children themselves. Despite the predictions generated from exchange theory, women's socio-economic status and gender role orientation did not, by and large, influence their perceptions of the cost and benefits of children.

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