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BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013 Oct 28;13:197. doi: 10.1186/1471-2393-13-197.

Attitudes toward fertility and childbearing scale: an assessment of a new instrument for women who are not yet mothers in Sweden.

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Institution of Reproductive Health, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institute, Retziusväg 13 A, SE-171 77, Stockholm, Sweden.



Women in high-resource countries often postpone childbearing. Postponed childbearing may lead to increased health risks for both mother and child and may also result in childlessness. Attitudes among men and women about fertility and childbearing have been studied in different phases of fertile life, but instruments that assess attitudes toward fertility and childbearing among women without children are lacking. The aim of this study is to develop and evaluate a specific instrument, the Attitudes toward Fertility and Childbearing Scale (AFCS), to assess and compare attitudes toward fertility and childbearing using a national sample of Swedish women, who are not yet mothers.


This study reports on the development of a new instrument and was carried out in three steps: (1) Statements were constructed based on two qualitative studies; (2) Data were collected through web-based questionnaires, and (3) Data were analyzed using statistical tests for construct validity with exploratory factor analysis, internal consistency reliability, and comparative statistics. Student's t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were performed to analyze differences between the components and background characteristics. One hundred and thirty-eight women participated; they were 20-30 years of age, not mothers, and able to read and speak Swedish.


The instrument showed acceptable sample adequacy, factorability, and reliability using Cronbach's alpha. Three components were revealed, each one representing a specific underlying dimension of the construct: 1) importance of fertility for the future (Cronbach's α, 0.901); 2) childbearing as a hindrance at present (Cronbach's α, 0.908); and 3) social identity (Cronbach's α, 0.805). Women who were students scored higher in importance of fertility for the future than did women who were unemployed. Women living in metropolitan areas and larger cities were more likely to score highly in childbearing as a hindrance at present than women living in middle-sized cities or in the countryside. Women in the age group from 25-26 agreed to the largest extent with childbearing as a hindrance at present.


The instrument shows acceptable factorability and reliability. Three components were found to be the best solution. Further evaluation is necessary.

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