Desires and intentions for fatherhood: A comparison of childless gay and heterosexual men in Germany.

The present study explores the motivation for fatherhood in a sample of childless German gay and heterosexual men aged 18 to 40 years (N = 628 + 638). Referring to the theory of planned behavior (TPB), three potential predictors were considered: the individual’s attitude toward having children, perceived attitudes of significant others toward fatherhood, and anticipated parental self-efficacy. Regarding fathering motivation, the general desire to become a father was differentiated from the more concrete fathering intention. Level- and structure-oriented analyses were combined in an innovative way. Consistent with previous research, gay participants reported weaker fathering desires and intentions than their heterosexual counterparts; however, there was no wider desire-intention gap among gay than among heterosexual participants (level-oriented analysis). As expected, associations between TPB predictors and fathering motivation were independent of sexual orientation (structure-oriented analysis). Participants’ appreciation of children and their self-attribution of parental self-efficacy were strongly associated with fathering intentions; these associations were substantially mediated by fathering desires. However, the association between significant others’ attitudes toward fatherhood and participants’ fathering motivation was comparably weak. Demographics were controlled for in each analysis. Results are discussed from both an individual and a societal perspective. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)