Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower Income Group

By J. Mayone Stycos | Go to book overview

positive attitudes and toward the weakening of negative attitudes. Authoritative rebuttal of the popular misconceptions about birth- control techniques alone could do a great deal. Since lower-class couples already have small-family ideals at marriage, it is merely a question of intensifying or catalyzing them, not so much of creating them. Recently married couples might be advised that the time to start family planning is in the present, not when it is too late. Women could be reminded that "starting soon" does not mean finishing soon, that rapid-order pregnancies are detrimental to health, and that a large family in present-day Puerto Rico tends to be more an economic liability than an asset. The latter arguments are known by most of the lower class and need merely be stressed and raised for discussion. These points should be emphasized before women attend clinics as well as while they attend them, to insure that birth-control practices will be initiated early and continued.

Along with the educational campaign could go wider distribution of birth-control materials with special attention given to contraceptives for the male. Since males will seldom attend a prematernal clinic, and many rural women find it difficult or unpleasant to attend, male contraceptives could be made available in country stores of the island, and, by means of government subsidy, could be available at a token cost.

Finally, an effort might be made to effect change in the more inaccessible areas of social life--family structure. Since communication between spouses was seen to be a major deterrent to birth- control practice, discussion groups on sex, marriage, child bearing, child rearing, and other related topics could be attempted, perhaps by such groups as the parent-teacher association. If less restrictive measures were taken with daughters, and if daughters possessed more information about sex and a greater awareness of the responsibilities of marriage, more careful choice of partners and later age at marriage might ensue. Premarital and marital counseling services could also work toward the same objectives.


CONCLUDING REMARKS

Both biology and culture join in making reproduction one of the strongest of human urges. A product of sexual drives, it is more

-254-

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Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower Income Group
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Tables xiii
  • Figures xvii
  • I- Introduction 3
  • II- Differential Status Ideologies of the Sexes 29
  • III- Child-Rearing Practices 37
  • Conclusions 58
  • IV- Courtship 60
  • Conclusions 85
  • V- Early Marriage and Consensual Union 87
  • Conclusions 120
  • VI- Marital Relations 122
  • VII- Attitudes toward Fertility- The Fertility Belief System 158
  • Summary 180
  • VIII- Attitudes toward Birth Control 182
  • IX- The Dynamics of Birth-Control Use 217
  • X- Summary and Recommendations 242
  • Concluding Remarks 254
  • Appendix A- Methodology 256
  • Appendix B- Respondent Characteristics 293
  • Appendix C- The Construction of Indices 297
  • Appendix D- Interview Forms 300
  • Appendix E- Categories for File Index of Selected Quotations 315
  • List of Works Cited 316
  • Index 323
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