DOI: 10.1142/s2661318223742200 ISSN: 2661-3182

#59 : Greater Hope Leads to More Babies? Examining the Relationship Between Perceived Social Hope, Fertility Intention and Reproductive Decision-Making Among Hong Kong Childless Adults

Tess Tung Kwan, Celia Hoi Yan Chan
  • General Medicine

Background and Aims: Hong Kong has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world at 1.1 children per woman. Prior studies focused on personal factors such as having a stable relationship and individual maturity as the most important conditions for parenthood. However, there is limited research about the relationship between individual perception of society and reproductive decision-making. Given that Hong Kong has experienced social turmoil such as the Umbrella Movement (2014), the Anti-Extradition Bill Movement (2019) and COVID-19 (2020) in this decade, this study explores whether the sense of social hope predicts fertility intention among Hong Kong childless adults.

Method: Five Hundred and Four childless Hong Kong Chinese (Mean age=31.48±5.96) were recruited through community networks and social media. Data was collected between May and June 2022. The modified and translated Social Hope Scale (5-item) specifying “Hong Kong” was adopted to assess the participants’ level of social hope, with a 5-point Likert-scale of 1 (Strongly disagree) to 5 (Strongly agree). The overall internal consistency of the translated version was excellent ([Formula: see text]=.92). Self-constructed items regarding fertility intention and family formation plan were included.

Results: 56.7% of the participants considered having children, yet only 28.8% of them had a concrete family formation plan. The average level of social hope was 2.24 out of 5. Regression analyses showed that social hope significantly predicted fertility intention ([Formula: see text]=.111, p<.05). As expected, there was no impact of the level of social hope on sexual desire. In a nutshell, the participants’ hopeful thinking for Hong Kong society predicts their fertility intention.

Conclusion: Given the social and political uncertainties are expected to continue in Hong Kong, these findings call for an increased psychosocial and fertility education for citizens to have long-term parenting planning and policies that increase their sense of social hope thus increasing their fertility intention.

More from our Archive