Social influence and the timing of parenthood


  • Disa Bergnéhr


There is a general trend of postponing entry into parenthood in Europe, Scandinavia being no exception. Previous research has suggested a range of reasons for this pattern to emerge, but comparatively little attention has been given the  possible impact of the social network on the decision to try for a child. This paper explicates ways in which young Swedish adults in focus group discussions reason about the impact of friends and family in their reproductive decisionmaking. The analysis is based on a discourse analytical approach and inspired by social influence theory. The result of the focus group data indicates that the desire to maintain belonging and rootedness to friends as well as to kin is influential in procreative decision-making. Friends and family are recurrently referred to in the participants’ reasoning about when parenthood is preferably entered.

Author Biography

Disa Bergnéhr, Linköping University
Department of Child Studies, Tema Institute