Stability and Change in Motherhood Status and Fertility Problem Identification: Implications for Changes in Self-Esteem

Arthur L. Greil, Julia McQuillan, Elizabeth Richardson, Michele H. Lowry, Kathleen S. Slauson-Blevins, Stacy M. Tiemeyer, Andrea R. Burch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Because motherhood is a valued status, the life course perspective and the theory of conjunctural action suggest the following hypotheses: for women in the United States, gaining the valued identity “mother” should lead to an increase in self-esteem, while identification with a fertility problem identity should lead to a decrease in self-esteem. Using the nationally representative two-wave National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB), we conducted change-score analysis with chained multiple imputation (MICE) to model attrition. We compared changes in self-esteem by change and stability in motherhood and self-identified fertility problem status among women who initially had no children. Results provide support for the hypotheses. All but one group—those who no longer identified a problem and who had a baby—had declines in self-esteem. Women who persisted with a fertility problem identity and did not have a baby had the steepest decline in self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1674-1695
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume41
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Keywords

  • fertility
  • infertility
  • life course
  • quantitative
  • self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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