Home and Parenting Resources Available to Siblings Depending on Their Birth Intention Status


  • This research was supported by Grant R01-HD39285 from NICHD (J.S.B.) and by Grants R01-HD043221 from NICHD and APR-006013 from the Office of Population Affairs (P.L.E.).

concerning this article should be addressed to Jennifer S. Barber, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248. Electronic mail may be sent to jebarber@umich.edu (or) peast@ucsd.edu.


This study examines the differential availability of family and parenting resources to children depending on their birth planning status. The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data were analyzed, 3,134 mothers and their 5,890 children (M = 7.1 years, range = 1 month–14.8 years), of whom 63% were intended at conception, 27% were mistimed, and 10% were unwanted. Fixed-effects models show that unwanted and mistimed children had fewer resources than intended siblings. Parents’ emotional resources to older children decreased after the birth of a mistimed sibling. Findings suggest that cognitive and emotional resources are differentially available to children within a family depending on intention status and that unintended births lead to decreased parental resources for older children in the household.