Partners' relationship quality and childbearing

A.J. Rijken, E. Thomson

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This study examines the influence of partner relationship quality on childbearing. We are innovative in using relationship quality reports from both partners, drawing on the first and second wave of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study. Thus, we can identify potential effects of discordant perceptions of the relationship on childbearing. We also pose a new hypothesis on the direction of the effect of relationship quality on fertility, predicting that medium levels of relationship quality result in the highest childbearing rates. Our results indicate that only women’s perceptions of relationship quality influence a first birth, whereas women’s and men’s perceptions affect second births. We do not find unique effects of disagreement in assessments of relationship quality; effects of partners’ perceptions are additive. Women reporting medium levels of relationship quality are most likely to have a(nother) child, whereas men with medium and high quality relationships are most likely to have a second child. keywords: fertility; childbearing; partner relationships; relationship quality; gender; panel survey; The Netherlands
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-497
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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