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The overpopulation crisis: the effects of childrearing attitudes and attitudes toward women.
This study investigated the effects of attitudes toward and knowledge of overpopulation and sexism on childbearing and adoption attitudes. The subjects were 131 students drawn from three high school sophomore and three college sophomore classes. Subjects were assigned to one of three groups: a treatment group receiving a lecture on overpopulation, a treatment group receiving a lecture on traditional versus revised sex roles for women, and a control group receiving no treatment. Both prior to and following the lecture treatment, all subjects completed three surveys: an attitudes toward women scale, a population attitudes survey, and a series of questions regarding background data and childrearing plans which served as the dependent variables. Results indicated that: women receiving the sex roles lecture expected significantly fewer adopted children on the posttest; males in both treatment groups gave more thought to having natural children on the posttest than did males in the control group and more than females across all groups; and a trend indicated that college students both wanted and expected fewer natural children on the posttest than did high school students. Hypotheses regarding the effects of the two treatment groups on childbearing and adoption attitudes were not supported. Several possible explanations for this lack of support were discussed and strategies for future research were proposed.