The Scientific Study of People Who Are Single:
An Annotated Bibliography

Bella M. DePaulo
Chair, Academic Advisory Board of the Spectrum Institute
Research and Policy Division of the
American Association for Single People (AASP)

January 2, 2004


3. Parents, Children, and Adults Who Are Not Parents  

Adults Without Children

What do we know about the life experiences of adults who do not have children? Are they stigmatized? How do they compare in well-being, and in the breath of their life experiences, to adults who do have children? Are the answers different for older adults compared to younger ones? The references in this section are not specific to single adults without children.

Adams, M. (1971). Singleness and childlessness. In A. Skolnick & J. H. Skolnick (Eds.), Intimacy, Family, and Society (pp.489-510). Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

Akerlof, G. A. (1998). Men without children. The Economic Journal, 108, 287-309.

Alexander, B. B., Rubinstein, R. L., Goodman, M., & Luborsky, M. (1992). A path not taken: A cultural analysis of regrets and childlessness in the lives of older women. The Gerontologist, 32, 618-626.

Burkett, E. (2000). The baby boon: How family-friendly America cheats the childless. NY: The Free Press.

Callan, V. J. (1986). Single women, voluntary childlessness and perceptions about life and marriage. Journal of Biosocial Science, 18, 479-487.

Connidis, I. A., & McMullin, J. A. (1996). Reasons for and perceptions of childlessness among older persons: Exploring the impact of marital status and gender. Journal of Aging Studies, 10, 205-222.

Forthofer, M. (2000). Childless adults just as content as parents. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Public Health Association. (Reported by A. M. Belchak in Reuters, December 15, 2000.)

Ireland, M. S. (1993). Reconceiving women: Separating motherhood from female identity. New York: Guilford. (Chapter 1, "Childless in the 1990s: The ‘other’ woman and why now?")

Klepfisz, I. (2000). Women without children; women without families; women alone. In R. Ratner (Ed.), Bearing life: Women’s writings on childlessness (pp. 19-28). The Feminist Press at The City University of New York.

Koropeckyj-Cox, T. (1998). Loneliness and depression in middle and old age: Are the childless more vulnerable? Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 53, 302-312.

Koropeckyj-Cox, T. (2002). Beyond parental status: Psychological well-being in middle and old age. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 957-971.

Lang, S. S. (1991). Women without children: The reasons, the rewards, the regrets. NY: Pharos Books. (Chapter 4. Who doesn’t have children? Chapter 5. The never married. Chapter 14. The ups and downs of child-free living.)

Lisle, L. (1996). Without child: Challenging the stigma of childlessness. NY: Ballantine Books.

May, E.T. (1995). Barren in the promised land: Childless Americans and the pursuit of happiness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Megan, C. E. (2000). Childless by choice. Ms., October / November, 43-46.

Ratner, R. (Ed.) (2000). Bearing life: Women’s writings on childlessness. NY: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York.

Rice, S. (1989). Single, older childless women: Differences between never-married and widowed women in life satisfaction and social support. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 13, 35-47.

Veevers, J. E. (1983). Voluntary childlessness: A critical assessment of the research. In E. D. Mackin & R. H. Rubin (Eds.), Contemporary Families and Alternative Lifestyles: Handbook on Research and Theory (pp. 75-96). London: Sage Publications.


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