Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Book Reviews -- Fertility Choices and Constraints: A Qualitative Study of Norwegian Families by Tone Schou Wetlesen

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Book Reviews -- Fertility Choices and Constraints: A Qualitative Study of Norwegian Families by Tone Schou Wetlesen

Article excerpt

Fertility Choices and Constraints: A Qualitative Study of Norwegian Families. Tone Schou Wetlesen. Oslo: Solum Forlag. 1991. 144 pp. Hardcover ISBN 82-560-0752-4.

In this qualitative study Tone Schou Wetlesen examines how Norwegian women and men make their decisions about fertility. In Norway, as in the rest of the Western world, the total fertility rate (TFR) has declined and was 1.88 in 1989. Her questions are: Why do some parents have one child only? What makes many stop with two children, and why do some have a third child?

The author discusses different theoretical perspectives in a psycho-sociological tradition, including the Norwegian sociologist Eilert Sundt's pioneering 19th-century contributions to the understanding of fertility, Emil Durkheim's work on the effects of industrialization on fertility and social integration in both family and society, and Erik H. Erikson's work on stages and maturity level.

Data are from 47 women and 40 men in 47 marriages, mainly middle-class families. They are all Norwegians with one to three children between the ages of 3 and 10. The age limits are set so that interviewees would be able to remember the process of considering having more children. The sample is also strategic with respect to mother's employment, including women working outside of the home full-time and half-time, as well as full-time housewives. Forty-eight percent are full-time housewives, which is a much higher proportion than in the Norwegian population at large. All families are two-parent households. …

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