Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Women who choose not to have children: a preliminary study

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-07, 16:30 authored by Rose O Driscoll, Jenny Mercer

 Women who choose not to have children have been largely overlooked in both mainstream and feminist literature, where the focus is more typically on childbirth and motherhood or reproduction and infertility. Using data obtained through semi-structured interviews with four women aged 45 and over, this paper presents the initial findings of an on-going constructivist grounded theory study with women who have chosen not to have children. Findings from category one suggest that participants had no desire to replicate motherhood. The reasons included their negative experiences and memories of family life. Access to education and introduction to feminist ideas helped develop a strong sense of agency. Ongoing reflection on their lives illustrated how adult relationships were prioritised over motherhood. Findings from the other three categories (briefly discussed) challenge some of the dominant ideologies and assumptions about women who choose not to have children. 


Published in

Psychology of Women Section Review


The British Psychological Society

Publication Year



  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


O’Driscoll, R. & Mercer, J. (2015) 'Women who choose not to have children: a preliminary study', Psychology of Women Section Review 17, pp. 21-30

Print ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Applied Psychology and Behaviour Change

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en