Are you feeling broody? It might be because you have a case of Childhood contagion!
Past research has indicated that friends can influence each other to smoke, drink, diet and exercise but the latest research from America suggests these influence stretches as far our fertility decisions.
A study published in the American Sociological Review finds that among female high school friends, having children is contagious during early adulthood.
The team assessed data from more than 1,700 women in the US who were monitored for approximately 15 years, from the age of 15 to 30.
Assessing the rate of planned pregnancies among high school friends, the study found that when one friend gave birth, other friends immediately thought about having children of their own.
Explaining the results, co-author Balbo said:
“The study shows the contagion is particularly strong within a short window of time. It increases immediately after a high school friend gives birth, reaches a peak about two years later, and then decreases, becoming negligible in the long-run.”
“This research demonstrates that fertility decisions are not only influenced by individual characteristics and preferences, but also by the social network in which individuals are embedded. In addition, it shows that high school friends impact our lives well after graduation.”
In addition, she explains that having children at the same time as friends can pose many benefits.
“Friends can share the childbearing experience and thus reduce the stresses associated with pregnancy and childrearing,” she adds. “It’s also easier for people to remain friends when they are experiencing parenthood at the same time.”