Ní Bhrolcháin, M.
The contraceptive confidence idea: an empirical investigation
Population Studies, 42, (2), . (doi:10.1080/0032472031000143326).
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In this paper the hypothesis that 'contraceptive confidence' promotes accelerated childbearing is presented and examined. Methodological difficulties in investigating the question empirically are discussed. Because of the absence of a direct measure, a proxy indicator of 'contraceptive confidence' is used in multivariate analyses of maternity history data. These give results consistent with the existence of a contraceptive confidence effect. Evidence is also presented (a) of shorter second birth intervals among women who were in higher status occupations before marriage and (b) of an inverse association between educational qualifications and length of intervals after the first. These findings are construed as supporting the basic thesis regarding contraceptive confidence. The contraceptive confidence idea is discussed in the context of related work on an acceleration effect associated with women's labour-force participation. Several difficulties in interpreting the findings are considered and some implications are discussed.
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