His and Her Relationship Quality: Effects on Childbearing

Arieke J. Rijken, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute

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. This enables us to investigate what happens when partners have disagreeing perceptions of the relationship. A second focus is on the direction of the effect of relationship quality on fertility. We pose a new hypothesis, predicting that medium level relationship quality results in the highest rates of childbearing. Our results indicate that only women's perceptions of relationship quality influence the likelihood of a first birth, whereas women's and men's perceptions affect second births. We do not find unique effects of disagreeing perceptions of relationship quality; each partner’s perceptions have an independent effect. Women with medium levels of relationship quality are most likely to have a(nother) child, whereas the effect of relationship quality for men is positive.

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Presented in Session 10: Empowerment, Agency and Gender Dynamics