Marriage and Family Living

Print ISSN: 0885-7059
The relationship between family size and adjustment of children was studied in 256 Midwestern children. The Rogers test of personality adjustment was used. The children in the sample lived in rural areas and towns with populations under 10,000 in Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Family sizes ranged from 2 to 11 children. Results indicated that a small family environment does not have a detrimental effect on the children's personality development and suggested that children from smaller families might fare better psychologically than children from larger families. These findings tend to agree with those of Nye but are at variance with those reported by Bossard and Boll and by Ellis and Beechley. It is noted however, that the purpose, samples used, and methods of analysis employed in the studies were different, which makes comparisons difficult.
A questionnaire was administered to 380 university students, about equally divided between males and females, to determine the respondent's preference for a child of a particular sex. When respondent's were asked to cite preference if they could have only 1 child, 92% of the males and 66% of the females preferred their only child to be a boy. Although the response was overwhelmingly in favor of a boy, males and females did differ significantly at the .0001 level. When respondents were asked to cite sex preference for first child, 62.1% of the males and 58.6% of the females perferred a boy, while 33.5% and 35.2% of the males and females, respectively, said it made little difference to them. When those who took the egalitarian position were forced to state a preference, most of the males wanted a boy and the females wanted a girl. When the desired sex compostion of future families was analyzed, over 55% wanted an equal number of boys and girls. More than 34% wanted a predominantly male family in contrast to only 6% who preferred a predominantly female family. As hypothesized, Catholic and Jewish respondents showed a stronger male preference than Protestants. In addition, significantly fewer Protestants had a definite preference for the sex of their first child. Neither the aspirational level of the students nor the satisfaction of their affectional relationships with pa rents, siblings, and peers contributed to the explanation of sex preferences. 4 areas of further study are suggested: 1) a more realistic cultural evaluation of some current psychiatric concepts--particularly the Oedipus complex; 2) the treatment accorded children by parents with strong sex preferences; 3) the relation between marital role conceptions and sex preference of children; and 4) the implications for the sex ratio when male sex preference is reinforced by medical technology which can predict and perhaps even control the sex of a child.
In order to investigate both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with vasectomy as well as factors motivating persons to seek a vasectomy, a trial questionnaire and preliminary interviews were conducted. 29 men filled out the trial questionnaire. 19 had undergone the operation during the previous 6 weeks, while 9 had had it 3 or more years earlier. Discomfort during the operation was reported by 5 as "strong", by 5 as "moderate," and by 11 as "slight", or "none". All the men reported that if they had the choice to make again they would select the vasectomy as their preferred method of birth control. They also indicated that their wives would again agree to the operation. Detailed information was gathered from 9 couples who lived in the same university community. All the husbands and most of the wives were college graduates as opposed to the 29 men who filled out the questionnaire who were largely skilled and semi-skilled workers. The majority of the men reported no negative after-effects from the operation, but most of them had undergone the vasectomy some time in the past, so forgetting may have been a factor. The major motivating factor for having the vasectomy appeared to be dissatisfaction with contraceptives. Two-thirds of the sample said that there had been an improvement in their sex life as a result of the operation. All husbands and wives with the exception of 1 of each said that they would recommend the operation to others. These 2 people were reluctant to have the vasectomy performed in the first place. It would seem advisable for couples to reach complete agreement before the vasectomy operation is performed, if necessary, with the help of a counselor.
Opposing points of view which have a bearing on individual action relative to voluntary male sterilization are discussed, and data from the files of a California surgeon which provide some indication of interest in voluntary vasectomy in a limited area of the state are presented. The medical associations tend to place emphasis on the legal aspects of such surgery while the Human Betterment Association of America (HBAA) is more concerned with the humanitarian aspects. Data on 2007 patients who underwent vasectomy operations are given. In each instance, the patient's wife was asked to sign a release indicating agreement that surgery be performed; there were no other requirements or complications. The surgeon reported that there have been no cases of serious complications following the operation, nor has he encountered a single court action or been threatened by court action. The number of cases increased from 1956 to 1961. The mean age of the men at the time they had the vasectomy was 31.8 years. 66.2% of the sample reported having 3 or fewer children. Not only were men pleased with the result of the operation but they talked about its advantages freely and attempted, often with success, to convince others to have it done. The men came several hundred miles to have the operation in some cases. In 85.6% of the cases, there was no medical problem stated as a reason for requesting vasectomy.
A survey was conducted among nearly 2000 randomly-selected women in Santiago, Chile, in 1959. The survey was designed to study fertility attitudes and practices. The methodological aspects and problems with the study are discussed. With the retrospective data obtained, it was possible to attempt a longitudinal analysis. Chile is a country which has entered its demographic transition, with birth rates declining since 1940. It also has some of the most advanced social legislation in Latin America. Response data from the survey is presented in tabular form. Differential fertility between socioeconomic classes and educational groups was obvious. The ideal number of children mentioned, over 4, is 1 of the highest in any similar survey to date. It is believed that the observed differential fertility results from a differential use of fertility control, including a high level of use of induced abortion. The survey shows a conflict between attitudes which are anti-birth control and contraceptive usage in certain sectors of the population. Conditions favorable to the continued decline of the birth rate are on the increase.
John F. Kippley's Couple to Couple League, in addition to providing instruction in the natural family planning (NFP) method, conducts a series of 4 classes for couples who want to learn about health care, breastfeeding, prepared childbirth, and continence. The parents learn the philosophy and practice of the "ecology of natural mothering". Like prepared childbirth, NFP is based on scientific principles and is an art which must be mastered through study and practice. "Ecological mothering" means total breastfeeding and physical closeness between mother and infant. The basic principle is that the baby's frequent sucking will provide the mother with a period of natural infertility. The concept of total breastfeeding is radically different from the cultural nursing as is often seen in this society. "Ecological mothering" means: no solid foods for the 1st 6 months of the baby's life, no artificial pacifiers or nipples, no schedules, and mother baby closeness day and night. The vast majority of women will have extended natural infertility with ecological breastfeeding, and there will be a menstrual period after childbirth before ovulation occurs again. After the 1st menstrual period postpartum, a couple should assume that fertility has returned. Then it is time for them to use their awareness of a woman's body signals to determine fertility. The Couple to Couple League maintains that a woman can "read" her body through the symptothermal changes that are observed and then recorded. Actually, interpreting these bodily changes accurately allows a couple to detect ovulation before the 1st menstrual period postpartum. A chart outlines the theory of the symptothermal system. The observations of body changes can help a couple either to planor avoid conception. The symptoms and temperature changes are charted and intercourse is avoided during peak fertility if the couple wants to avoid conception. Kippley notes that the philosophy behind NFP has brought many couples closer together.
Much research in the past few years has been devoted to assessing the reliability of natural family planning (NFP). Partly as a result of a 1974 complaint by the Human Life Foundation, and independent nonprofit corporation originally formed by the American Catholic Bishops in 1968 to promote scientific research into natural methods of fertility regulation, the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1974 set up a special project to include natural methods in federal family planning programs. The Human Life Foundation was awarded a contract to compile a list of clinics offering natural methods. The majority of such clinics were found to be under Catholic auspices but to make services available to all denominations. HEW's lack of attention to NFP was largely explained by the religious affiliation and the poor reputation of "rhythm" as a method. The Human Life Foundation researched the existing literature on NFP and prepared a compendium on the various NFP methods for distribution to federal clinics as well as a curricular outline for establishment of a training program for instructors. At present most Human Life Foundation funding is from the US governmetn. The foundation acts as a catalyst in funding and coordinating research in the US and abroad and in disseminating the results. The Natural Family Planning Federation of America (NFPFA) was created in 1973 to develop standards for NFP teaching and clinic operation. Goals are to encourage teaching of both the ovulation and symptothermal methods and to ensure medical backup for all clinics, to promote collection of statistical data, and to help NFP providers obtain funding. HEW policy is that all family planning methods should be made available in all publicly funded clinics, which creates difficulties for NFP clinics whose organization and requirements are very different from those of other types of family planning. The scientific and family planning extablishments have generally preferred other forms of contraception to NFP, because of the time required to counsel patients, the need for relatively long periods of abstinence, possible reluctance to place control in the hands of the couple rather than the doctor, doubts abouth the efficacy of NFP, and other factors. Limited studies thus far have suggested that highly motivated couples can achieve excellent success with NFP, although failure rates among users as a whole may be high.
This article is part of a longitudinal evaluation of effects of vasectomy on behavior and personality. 48 subjects who obtained vasectomies from a urologist in the San Diego area during a 9 month interval in 1961 were the subjects of this study. Model age was 28 years; they had been married for a modal 4 years, and had a modal number of 3 children. They had tried other contraceptives and were dissatisfied with them for various reasons. The respondents filled out a special questionnaire and a Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). The questionnaire was on the reasons for wanting the operation, use of other contraceptives, attitudes, etc. The results indicated that for the majority the stated reasons for not wanting additional children were socioeconomic. 1/3 of the men were college graduates who regarded themselves as in good or excellent health, and who were overwhelmingly Protestant. 14 of the 48 respondents stated that the operation was advised by a physician. The men were not overanxious and did not show an extreme tendency for pathology of any sort. The conclusion drawn from this sample is that the subjects were motivated primarily by rational considerations and were relatively free of unconscious neurotic concern about the consequences of the operation.
Pakistan is a divided country with different religious groups represented. Since independence in 1941, the Muslim population has increased more rapidly than the Hindu population, the West Pakistan population more rapidly and steadily than the East Pakistan population. In the late 1950s the Pakistan government initiated a family planning program. The program has trained medical and paramedical personnel in family planning, added family planning services to existing medical centers, planned for a National Research Institute of Family Planning, employed mobile units to reach outlying areas, conducted limited clinical studies on some contraceptives, and used mass media advertising. Only India and Japan are doing more with government-sponsored family planning. A weak organizational structure and an inadequate number of trained personnel are the main weakness of the program. It is too early to assess the success of the program. A 10-point reduction in annual birth rates will be considered successful.
A study of 416 veterans of World War II who lived in a particular midwestern community at the time of their entrance into the armed forces. The story of the experiences of these men in learning the ways of military life and their later experiences in returning to civilian life is told primarily in historical terms. The data used in a comparison of adjustment of veterans and non-veterans four years after the war are presented in an appendix. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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