Family and Child-bearing in Russia: Categories of Parental Mind. Research Grant: PSTGU

Duration of the project: 2007-2009

Project coordinator: Ivan Zabaev

About the project

Birth rate decrease is one of the key problems both for the Europe and Russian Federation. During last 70 years many significant attempts to explain this situation were taken. All suggested models were made deductively and using quantitative methods. The problem hasn’t been solved and the debates are going on. In this paper we try to ground the hypothesis about childbearing motivation using qualitative methodology (grounded theory, discourse analysis). 80 biographical interviews were conducted in the course of the project.

Main findings can be listed as following: (1) child-rearing experience in parental family (whether or not one has technical skills in smaller siblings rearing) is crucial in explaining childbearing motivation of potential parents. This experience blocks fear of the unknown – fear of «how to» treat a baby; (2) child-rearing experience is evaluated by potential parents. Two main categories frame parent’s system of evaluation – «own life» and «responsibility»; (3). two main institutions, maintaining these categories – education («own life») and medicine («responsibility»), – stimulate potential parents to postpone childbearing. The way these institutions develop in modern world will continue reducing childbearing rates more and more.


Zabaev Ivan, Emeliyanov Nikolay, Pavlenko Ekaterina, Pavlyutkin Ivan. 2012. Family and childbearing in Russia. Categories of parental mind. Moscow: PSTGU.

Pavlyutkin Ivan. 2011. "Fatherhood. The role of a man in a childbearing planning." Human being, 2, 124-132.

Zabaev Ivan. 2011. "Rationality, responsibility and medicine: a problem of childbearing motivation in Russia at the beginning of the XXI century." Economic Sociology, Vol. 12, 2, 21-48.

Zabaev Ivan. 2010. "The problem of childbearing motivation and continuity of reproductive behavior." Demoscope Weekly, 447.

Zabaev Ivan. 2010. "“Own life”, education, childbearing: Motivation of reproductive behavior in modern Russia ." Bulletin of public opinion. Data. Analysis. Discussion., 3 (105): 87-97.

Zabaev Ivan. 2009. "Image of a child in the vision of russian megapolis citizens. Study, based on the materials of biographical interviews with Russians of reproductive age." Inter, 5, 40-55.