Emotion and Fertility in Times of Disaster: Conceptualizing Fertility Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
Natalie Nitsche1, D. Susie Lee1
1Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Fertility responses to disasters such as pandemics, recessions, or natural disasters have been varied in direction, strength, and across time and place. This background makes predicting fertility change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a multi-faceted disaster, challenging. We propose a novel theoretical framework, which posits that emotion experienced during disasters and emotional change caused by disasters, directly impacts reproductive behaviors and can be utilized to predict disaster-fertility responses. Leaning on evolutionary biology, the affective sciences, and cultural psychology, we develop three competing theoretical models, which we will empirically test using data from the German Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (pairfam). The pairfam has collected a ‘corona’ wave in May and June 2020 with a subsample of respondents, which will be released in the Fall of 2020.