The prospective power of personality on childbearing. A longitudinal study based on data from Germany.
Steffen Peters
Previous studies reveal that personality is associated with demographic processes such as mortality or family formation. However, research on the link between personality and fertility is relatively rare. In particular, longitudinal studies focusing on the predictive power of personality on childbearing are missing. The present study fills this gap by examining the link between the Five Factor Model (FFM) and the timing of first and second childbirths in Germany. Analyses are based on most recent data by the Socio-economic Panel Study (SOEP) from 2005-2017. Findings demonstrate that high extraversion accelerates first but postpones second childbirths. Furthermore, conscientiousness (negatively) and agreeableness (positively) are linked with first childbirths. These effects are mainly driven by males’ fertility behavior. The present study complements the understanding of the personality-fertility association by exploring the impact of personality trait scores on later fertility. However, further research is needed to comprehend the path from personality to childbearing.