Final Defense – Taylor Schmidt

Understanding the Experiences of Delayed and Non-Delayed Parents

July 2 @ 3:00 pm

LSC 1148

The purpose of this research was to examine the impact of parental age at first birth on parental self-efficacy, well-being, and satisfaction. Further comparisons were done to determine if the reasons for choosing to become a parent and the experiences of becoming an adult differed for delayed versus non-delayed parents. Utilizing a mixed methods survey, participants responded to a multitude of Likert-scale questions as well as qualitative questions about their unique experiences around their timing of becoming a parent and experiences of adulthood. After conducting survey reliability determinations, the sample of parents (n=111) was split into two groups of delayed parents (ages 35 and older) and non-delayed parents (ages 34 and younger). Unpaired t-tests were used to compare the means of the parent groups. Quantitative analysis indicated no differences between delayed and non-delayed parents for all items except satisfaction with the timing of first birth. Specifically, older parents indicated having less satisfaction with the timing of their first birth compared to younger parents. Qualitative analysis indicated several reasons for deciding to have children and several life events that appear to signal the entrance into adulthood. These findings suggest that the experiences of delayed and non-delayed parents may be similar and the lower satisfaction with the timing of parenthood by older parents could be explained by the increased conception difficulties experienced by many older parents. A limitation of this research was the lack of ANOVA statistical tests performed. Further statistical analyses would help to better understand how factors other than parental age impact the experiences of delayed and non-delayed parents.