Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Family Communication 9:1 (2009), pp. 43–65.

doi: 10.1080/15267430802561600


Copyright © 2009 Taylor and Francis. Used by permission.


Although the phenomenon of voluntary childlessness has garnered increased attention from researchers in a number of disciplines over the past 20 years (Connidis & McMullin, 1996; Letherby, 1998; Morrell, 1993; Park, 2002), little is known about the interaction processes that compose the family planning of couples who choose to remain child-free. In the present study, the researchers used Communication Privacy Management (Petronio, 2002) as the theoretical framework to describe the intradyadic communication processes that made up the family planning and decision making of voluntarily child-free couples. An interpretive analysis was performed on the transcripts of interviews with members of child-free couples. The researchers developed and described four different family-planning trajectories that illustrate the unique communicative pathways voluntarily child-free couples enacted as they engaged in family planning and arrived at a child-free decision.