Having children

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

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Minding the Baby home-visiting programme for vulnerable young mothers: results of a randomised controlled trial in the UK

Longhi E
London : NSPCC, 2019.
Minding the Baby is a preventative home-visiting parenting programme for first-time mothers between the ages of 14 and 25. Following on from promising findings in the United States, this report evaluates the programme in the United Kingdom. A randomised controlled trial was undertaken with 148 young mothers from Glasgow, Sheffield and York, with participants assessed from pregnancy to two years after birth. The programme aims to promote parental reflective functioning and combines practice elements from models of nurse home-visiting and mother-child psychotherapy. A pair of social workers and nurse practitioners work together with each young mother to promote sensitive caregiving and secure mother-child attachment, as well as maternal and child health and wellbeing. The study found that the programme did not improve maternal sensitivity, though some evidence was found for positive impacts on other outcomes.

Births, Australia 2018

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019.
This website presents detailed statistics on live births and fertility trends in Australia. Information is provided for 2018 on the total fertility rate, registered births, maternal age, multiple births, Indigenous parents, births in each state and territory, and births mapped against capital city areas. Information is taken from registered births and projections based on 2016 Census data. In 2018, there were 315,147 registered births with a total fertility rate of 1.74 births per woman. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, total fertility rate was 2.37 births per woman. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women also tend to give birth at young ages: almost three-quarters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births registered were to women under 30 years of age, as compared to 40.1% of births of the general population.

The ties that bind : is faith a global force for good or ill in the family?

World family map 2019 : mapping family change and child well-being outcomes. Charlottesville, VA : Institute for Family Studies, 2019: 3-55
This essay considers whether religion a force for good or ill in the family by considering its role in four key family outcomes: relationship quality, fertility, domestic violence and infidelity. Faith may help promote marriage and fertility by attaching particular meaning and importance to family life and by offering norms and networks that foster family solidarity, but it has also been seen as legitimating gender inequality and violence and abuse in the family. This essay features 3 chapters: Faith and fertility in the 21st century; Faith, feminism, and marriage: institutions, norms, and relationship quality; and Religion, intimate partner violence, and infidelity. The chapters draw upon data from the World Values Survey and the Global Family and Gender Survey, for Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, Colombia, France, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The essay concludes with the sidebar 'The family that prays together flourishes together' and country data.

Births in Australia

Australian Institute of Family Studies
Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019.
This webpage provides charts and statistics on births in Australia in 2017. Drawing on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it looks at trends in the number of births, total fertility rate, age-specific fertility rate, age of new mothers, and the rate of ex-nuptial births. The number of births in Australia peaked in 2016 at 311,104, and is only slightly lower in 2017 at 309,142. However, the total fertility rate is 1.74 and the lowest rate on record, declining from a peak of 3.55 in 1961.

The consequences of extending equitable property division divorce laws to cohabitants

Chigavazira A, Fisher H, Robinson T and Zhu A
Indooroopilly, Qld. : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2019.
From March 2009, unmarried couples were granted the same post-separation financial rights as married couples across Australia. This paper investigates whether these new rights have affected unmarried couples' investment in their relationship, in terms of household specialisation, male breadwinner and female home maker roles, having more children, and becoming home owners. Overall, partner, and financial satisfaction are also considered. The paper compares married and cohabitating people's behaviours and attitudes, using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. Since the law reform, men have increased their employment, women have increased time spent on housework, and couples are more likely to have more children and become home owners. The findings indicate that a potentially unintended consequence of this law reform is that they make unmarried couples behave more like married couples, with unmarried couples more likely to make such relationship-specific investments now that laws provide for the equitable redistribution of property in the event of relationship breakdown.

Addressing the needs of first-time fathers in Tasmania : a qualitative study of father-only antenatal groups.

Bash M
Australian Journal of Rural Health v. 26 no. 2 Apr 2018: 106-111
This article explores men's experiences of a two different antenatal support groups for new fathers in rural Tasmania. Twenty-five participants were interviewed, who had attended either a more informal health information session held in a pub, or a parenting support group session held in hospital or local community centre. The men were asked about their reasons for attending an antenatal group, their experience of the group setting, masculine stereotypes in antenatal groups, and information needs. Many of the men reported preferring information-based sessions rather than discussion-based groups, and made recommendations for program design and content.

Barriers to first time parent groups : a qualitative descriptive study.

Barrett N, Hanna L and Fitzpatrick O
Nursing & Health Sciences v. 20 no. 4 Dec 2018: 464-471
This article explores mothers' views of parenting groups, with the aim of gaining insights into why some new parents choose not to attend. Interviews were conducted with 8 first-time mothers in a regional city in Victoria, regarding barriers to participation, perceived relevance, and their thoughts on why fathers might under-represented. One particular view raised was that such support groups reinforced traditional and stereotypical gender roles, excluding fathers.

The legacy, legality and legitimacy of adopting out : examining the legitimacy of adoption through birth mother experiences.

Webster A
Peer reviewed papers from the FRSA 2018 National Conference : be the change - leaving no one behind. Fyshwick, ACT : Family & Relationship Services Australia, 2018: 3-12
This paper presents findings from the author's PhD research into the vulnerabilities and dependencies experienced that birth mothers who are choosing to adopt out their baby. Drawing on focus groups with birth mothers, the research explores the social context in which adopting out might be considered a legitimate choice and the institutional factors involved, with reference to Misztal's vulnerability framework. The author contends that the disconnect between the legality and the legitimacy of choosing to adopt out results in additional vulnerability for birth mothers. This paper is an expanded and peer reviewed version of an abstract accepted by the conference for presentation.

Trends in partnering and fertility among the Indigenous population

Venn D and Crawford H
Canberra, ACT : Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, 2018.
This paper explores trends in family formation for Indigenous people in Australia over the last decade. Using Census data from 2006 to 2016, it examines the number and characteristics of Indigenous people having partners and having children, with particular focus on variations between Indigenous people living in remote and non-remote parts of Australia and by education level. Previous research has found that family formation patterns of Indigenous Australians differ from those of non-Indigenous Australians, with Indigenous people less likely to be living in a registered or de facto marriage and Indigenous women more likely to have children - and a greater number - than non-Indigenous women. However, educational levels and participation are known to affect these decisions, and Indigenous Australians have experienced rapidly increasing educational attainment in recent years. The findings of this paper in part reflect this trend. Teenage parenthood has reduced considerably, and an increasing proportion of Indigenous women are postponing childbirth from their teens into their 20s and 30s. However, there has been a very large reduction in partnering for 3 groups: people in remote areas, people with less than Year 12 education, and people in their 20s. Possible factors for these trends are briefly considered.

Australian demographic statistics, June quarter 2018

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018.
This series provides quarterly estimates of the population in Australia, including total resident population, state and territory population, population by gender and age group, births and deaths, interstate and overseas movements, population projections, and number of households by state, territory, and capital cities. This edition presents data as of June 2018, with estimates to 2066. The preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia at 30 June 2018 was 24,992,400 people. Although the majority of states and territories experienced positive population growth in the year ended 30 June 2018, the amount due to natural increase, net overseas migration, and net interstate migration varied.

Childbearing for women born in different years, England and Wales, 2017

Great Britain. Office for National Statistics
Newport, Wales : Office for National Statistics, 2018.
This report presents statistics on childbearing among women in England and Wales by the year of birth of the mother, rather than year of birth of the child. It compares the fertility levels of current generations of women of childbearing age with previous generations, looking at changes in average family size, levels of childlessness, and the proportions of women having one, two, or more children. Women born in the 1960s onwards have had fewer children by their 30th birthday than previous generations and this postponement of childbearing has subsequently been reflected in smaller completed family sizes.

Births in England and Wales, 2017

Great Britain. Office for National Statistics
Newport, Wales : Office for National Statistics, 2018.
This report presents statistics on live births, stillbirths, and the total fertility rate in England and Wales in 2017. In 2017, there were 679,106 live births - the lowest number of live births since 2006 - and the total fertility rate also declined for the fifth consecutive year. Just over half of all live births were born to parents who were married or in a civil partnership, and 28.4% of live births were to mothers born outside the UK, following a gradual rise from 11.6% in 1990. Fertility rates for women aged 40 years and over have been following a long-term rise, and is now at its highest level since 1949: for the third consecutive year the fertility rate for women aged 40 years and over exceeded the rate for women aged under 20 years; this pattern was last recorded in 1947.

Engaging men as fathers : how gender influences men's involvement in Australian family health services.

Pfitzner N, Humphreys C and Hegarty K
Journal of Family Issues v. 39 no. 16 2018: 3956-3985
Despite the modern ideals of 'involved fatherhood' and shared caregiving, parenting services and programs continue to be oriented toward mothers rather than mothers and fathers as co-parents. This article investigates how gender impacts on service providers' engagement with new fathers, drawing on a case study of the Baby Makes 3 respectful relationships program. This 3-week pilot program is being trialled in Victoria by Maternal and Child Health Services, as part of their suite of free programs offered to all new, first time parents. It is a universal intervention targeting fathers in health settings and aims to prevent intimate partner violence by promoting equal and respectful relationships between men and women during the transition to parenthood. The article reports on staff and father views on the gender-related factors that shape men's father identities, behaviours, and decisions to participate, and contends that valuing men's transition to fatherhood might not only increase father engagement in parenting support services, but also their participation in care work.

Births, Australia 2017

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018.
This website presents detailed statistics on live births and fertility trends in Australia. Information is provided for 2017 on the total fertility rate, registered births, maternal age, multiple births, Indigenous parents, births in each state and territory, and births mapped against capital city areas. Information is taken from registered births and projections based on 2016 Census data. In 2017, 309,142 births were registered, resulting in a total fertility rate of 1.74 babies per woman - the lowest rate since 2001. The fertility rate continues to rise for women aged 35 years and over but is falling in most other age groups: over the past 30 years, the fertility rate has more than doubled for women aged 35-39, tripled for women aged 40-44 years old, but nearly halved for teenage women.

Support for new parents and babies in New South Wales

Conolly K
Sydney, N.S.W. : Parliament of New South Wales, 2018.
This inquiry investigates current services and supports for parents of infants in New South Wales, and how they can be improved. Research highlights the benefits and cost-effectiveness of early intervention and support for parents during their children's early years, so this inquiry was established to examine the adequacy of current services and structures, especially for vulnerable parents, and consider the changes to current services and structures that could improve physical health, mental health and child protection outcomes, models of support provided in other jurisdictions, and the opportunities for new and emerging technology to enhance support. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the inquiry, beginning with the need for better coordinated and integrated universal child and family health services. Topics include home visiting services and services targeting fathers, perinatal mental health, parents with disability, Indigenous families, parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and young homeless parents.

'It's just good to get a bit of man-talk out in the open' : men's experiences of father-only antenatal preparation classes in Tasmania, Australia.

Nash M
Psychology of Men and Masculinity v. 19 no. 2 2018: 298-307
This article explores new fathers' views of their antenatal support and information needs and father-only antenatal support groups. It draws on interviews with 25 men in Tasmania, who attended either a more informal health information session held in a pub, or a parenting support group session held in hospital or local community centre. The men were interviewed before and after the birth of their child, to explore how they experience the transition to fatherhood, their support and information needs, how they negotiate masculinity and involved fatherhood, and their views on the course content and format.

First-time parents' knowledge of early child development: focus group report

Guzman L
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2018.
A study is underway into first-time parents of young children in America about what they know, and want to know, about parenting and early childhood development, where they get their information, and the sources they use and trust. This report presents the findings of focus groups held to gain further insights into the research literature. Ninety parents took part, and gender, ethnic, and socio-economic differences in knowledge and views are also investigated. Overall, the participants are active and savvy consumers of information - they feel well-informed, though they have many unanswered questions. However, the findings reveal clear gaps in parents' knowledge as well as some degree of uncertainty about how to best support their children's development. The findings from a literature review, and a research-to-practice brief of the overall findings of the study, have also been published separately.

Parenting knowledge among first-time parents of young children: a research-to-practice brief

Bartlett J, Guzman L and Ramos-Olazagasti M
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2018.
This research-to-practice brief highlights findings and recommendations from a U.S. study of first-time parents of young children and their knowledge about parenting and child development. The study involved a review of the literature and focus groups with first-time parents of infants and toddlers, to learn more about what parents know, and want to know, about parenting and early childhood development, where they get their information, and the sources they use and trust. Based on the findings, the study made recommendations for service design and engaging parents. Though parents do not feel uninformed, they have many questions and want information accompanied by clear, non-judgmental steps for putting it into practice. The findings from the literature review and the focus groups are also published separately in more detail.

The influence of income and work hours on first birth for Australian women.

Kingsley M
Journal of Population Research v. 35 no. 2 Jun 2018: 107-129
This article adds to the evidence on socioeconomic differences on when mothers first have kids. Previous research on first birth timing has used education as a proxy for socioeconomic status; this article uses data on income and work hours. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, it finds that higher weekly wages makes first-time motherhood more likely at an older age and less likely among younger women. In terms of working hours, part-time employment is significantly associated with having a child, regardless of age.

Geographic variation in parity progression in Australia.

Gray E and Evans A
Population, Space and Place v. 24 no. 2 Mar 2018: e2080
This article explores whether there are geographic variations in fertility across Australia. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, it models the likelihood of women having a first, second, or third child by city, suburb, regional, or remote area location. Overall, the strong two-child norm in Australia persists, and is driven largely by age and relationship status rather than external variables such as geography. However, women living in smaller inner regional towns are more likely to have a first, second, and third birth, and women in capital cities and inner and middle suburbs are less likely to have a first birth. This may be related to housing size, with houses in outer suburbs and regional areas tending to be larger than houses in the inner and middle suburbs.

Parents' subjective well-being after their first child and declining fertility expectations.

Luppi F and Mencarini L
Demographic Research v. 39 2018: 285-314 (Article 9)
Research has found that subjective well-being is positively associated to wanting and having more children, yet other research has found a significant decline in subjective well-being following childbearing. This article investigates the association between wellbeing and parenthood further, using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. It analyses how the birth of a first child changes parents' satisfaction across several life domains and changes their expectations about having another child, over the first four years. Rather than using a measure of overall satisfaction with life, it considers the influence of separate areas of life: work, partner relationships, the new baby, own parents, housing, environment, health, and leisure. The findings indicate that a decline in new parents' life satisfaction is indeed associated with a significant decline in fertility expectations. In particular, mothers' fertility expectations are positively associated with their satisfaction with career prospects and work-family balance, and fathers' fertility expectations are positively associated with their financial situation. These findings provide new insights into the association between wellbeing and fertility.

Unintended and unwanted pregnancy in Australia : a cross-sectional, national random telephone survey of prevalence and outcomes.

Taft A, Shankar M, Black K, Mazza D, Hussainy S and Lucke J
Medical Journal of Australia v. 209 no. 9 8 Oct 2018: 407-408
This letter reports on a national survey into the prevalence and outcomes of unintended pregnancy in Australia over the last 10 years. 2,013 women aged 18-45 years old were surveyed regarding whether they had had an unintended pregnancy during the past ten years, whether any unintended pregnancy was unwanted, use of contraception, and the outcomes of all pregnancies. The survey found 26% of the respondents had fallen pregnant in the past ten years without planning to do so, and 30.4% of unintended pregnancies ended in abortions. These findings update the last national household survey on this topic, which was undertaken in 2005.

Adolescence and the next generation.

Patton G, Olsson C, Skirbekk V, Saffery R, Wlodek M, Azzopardi P, Stonawski M, Rasmussen B, Spry E, Francis K, Bhutta Z, Kassebaum N, Mokdad A, Murray C, Prentice A, Reavley N, Sheehan P, Sweeny K, Viner R and Sawyer S
Nature v. 554 22 Feb 2018: 458-466
There is much research into the impact of adolescence on later adulthood, but less is known about the the impact on adolescent development on future offspring - that is, the children born when these adolescents grow up and become parents themselves. This gap in the knowledge may explain why antenatal interventions often only lead to small gains - investment needs to occur earlier in the lives of the 'parents of tomorrow'. This article outlines data on a range of processes and factors - during adolescence or affected by age - that may affect the early growth, health, and development of the next generation. It looks at trends in parents' age and later fertility; duration of adolescence; early parenthood; parental gametes and environmental information; periconceptional mechanisms, including embryogenesis and embryo implantation; the persistence of socioeconomic, nutrition, and other developmental assets acquired during adolescence; maternal mental disorders and stress; substance use; and obesity. A chart illustrating the benefits of delaying early marriage for the next generation is also included. Data is drawn from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Health Data Exchange database.

Early parenting support and information : a consumer perspective.

Morawska A, Weston K and Bowd C
Infant Mental Health Journal v. 39 no. 2 Mar/Apr 2018: 145-152
This study investigates needs and preferences for support during the transition to parenthood. Parents were recruited via online forums, childcare centres, and playgroups, regarding parenting support both during pregnancy and after the birth, satisfaction with support received, use of parenting interventions, interest in additional parenting information, and topics of interest. The implications for developing interventions and engaging families are also discussed.

Union dissolution decisions and childbearing in subsequent unions: a study of Australian panel data

Vidal S and Jarallah Y
Indooroopilly, Qld : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2018.
This paper adds to the research on childbearing patterns after marital dissolution, by exploring the associations between union dissolution and rates of first-time parenthood and parity progression in Australia. Data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey is used. The paper also tests the hypothesis that individuals initiate union dissolutions to leave unions that are not deemed appropriate for parenthood or for a rewarding family life and tries to identify the mechanisms that lead individuals to dissolve unions, re-partner, and have children. The findings indicate that while union dissolution in Australia is associated with lower rates of first-time parenthood, rates of parity progression are similar for both first unions and repartnerings. This suggests that re-partnering serves as a driver for continued childbearing and compensates for lost births from dissolution to some degree.

Census 2016 : location and education affects how many children you have.

Evans A and Gray E
ANU Newsroom 27 Jun 2017
Using new statistics from 2016 Australian Census of Population and Housing, this news item highlights recent trends in the nature of families in Australia. The census counted 6.1 million families in Australia in 2016. As well as the increase in cohabitation, there are also increasing numbers of people in an intimate relationship with a person with whom they do not live. This figure is hidden in the census however, and other research estimates that about 25% of the reported 'single' population are actually partnered. Couples reporting a same-sex relationship has also increased, up 39% from 2011. The census also reveals how having children is not distributed evenly across the population, with differences by location and education. Women are increasingly having fewer or no children - 17% of women aged 40-44 are childless.

How do young Aboriginal fathers in Australia 'stay on track'?: perspectives on the support networks of Aboriginal fathers.

Fletcher R
Callaghan, N.S.W. : Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, 2017
'Stayin on Track' is an intervention aimed at young Aboriginal fathers in the mid north coast region of New South Wales. The intervention features short films - optimised for viewing on mobile phones - of young Aboriginal fathers describing what it's like to be a father, accompanied by a website of parenting and mental health information. Young men in this region are likely to become fathers at a young age without necessarily having experienced good male role models and frequently feel out of place in female-oriented parenting services. This document presents a final progress report to funders of a research project, highlighting how mobile phone and internet technology can be used to engage young Aboriginal fathers, and the benefits of developing local content for engagement. The document includes a summary of the project, background and rationale, achievements, data collection analysis demonstrating impact, future research directions, research outputs, and staff.

Is balancing the sex of their children important to New Zealand parents?

New Zealand. Statistics New Zealand
Wellington, N.Z. : Stat NZ, 2017.
This paper investigates whether New Zealand parents have preferences for sons or daughters, and whether the sex of previous children affects family size. Drawing on birth data from 2007 to 2015, it looks at fertility rates and the effect of the sex of existing children on the progression to a third or a fourth child. It finds that parents did not have a gender preference for their children, though parents with children all of the same sex were slightly more likely to have a third or fourth child than parents with at least one boy and one girl. Data limitations and the research on gender preferences are also discussed.

First-time parents' knowledge of infant and toddler development: a review of the literature

Bartlett J
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2017.
A study is underway into first-time parents of young children in America about what they know, and want to know, about parenting and early childhood development, where they get their information, and the sources they use and trust. This report presents the findings of the initial review of the literature, synthesising the current evidence base. It focuses particularly on first-time parents of infants and toddlers, as new parents of very young children are especially receptive to information and ways of thinking about parenting and child development. The findings suggest that these parents want to know more about parenting and child development, yet they have difficulty obtaining clear and trustworthy information. There is little evidence on variations in parenting knowledge among different groups and the effectiveness of different parenting strategies. This review will be followed by a qualitative study and a research-to-practice brief of the overall findings of the study, to be published separately.

Australian men's intentions for children: a life course perspective on factors influencing their formation and revision

Keygen A
"Declining fertility throughout much of the modern world has led demographers to question whether individual and couple childbearing behaviour is accurately reflective of the numbers of children people intend to have ... A main premise of [that] research is that to understand the ways in which couples negotiate childbearing, researchers must first understand the ways in which individuals form and revise their intentions for childbearing. This study takes as its focus the fertility intentions of Australian men. It investigates the socio-economic, demographic and attitudinal factors associated with their child-number intentions. Using data from twelve waves (2001-2012) of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA), this research incorporates psychological theories of goal adjustment to examine the life course events most strongly associated with the revision of men's intentions for children over time. This research finds that most men intend two children, confirming the two-child norm in Australia. The findings also demonstrate that partnered men, younger men, those with high levels of educational attainment and men with high life satisfaction intended, on average, more children. As expected, when men experienced relationship dissolution, periods of unemployment, or the birth of a child, they revised down their intentions for (more) children. Surprisingly, the process of ageing was found to be significantly associated with increasing intentions for children, until the age of 40-44 years, signalling the possible presence of a social age deadline for Australian fathers ... This study is the first to apply behavioural theories to understand the way in which Australian men revise their intentions for children over time."--Author abstract.
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