Conditional influences on children and the quality of family life

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The purpose of this inquiry was to determine if specific situational factors influence the manner in which number of children affect family life quality. Situational factors examined were: congruence between ideal number of children and actual; and secondly, expressed differences in family life quality by sex given similar conditional influences. Data were drawn from five recent U.S. national surveys.

Sample one, which was used in examining the congruence concept, contained 778 individuals. The sample was divided into four groups, each represented varying degrees and direction of congruence between ideal number of children and actual. Dunn-Bonferroni a priori comparisons were used to compare mean family life satisfaction scores for selected groups. Findings indicated that differing degrees of congruence between ideal and actual number of children did not affect family life quality.

A second sample of 1091 respondents was used to determine if women with young children reported lower family life satisfaction than comparable males. A t-test showed significant differences existed between males and females if a young child was present in the home. These findings indicate that young children have a detrimental effect on perceived family life quality for females.

The two situational factors examined indicate that degree and direction of congruence between ideal and actual number of children does not influence family life quality. Secondly, young children inhibit perceived family life satisfaction among females.