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The Childfree Experience Under the Microscope

Years ago, I worked for a grant making foundation where I learned how research drives the world's progress. Funders pay for the research and the programs derived from it. And ultimately, everything that follows.

Did you ever hear a news story announcing a study on something that is "obviously" already known? Who would study such a thing, you wonder.

Research that determines whether dogs can improve a person's mood, for example, is what funders and donors need before they invest to help pet therapy programs, pet companion training and more. Chances are that several books on the topic will hit the stores, too. When that research churns through ad agencies, sponsorships and support trickle down to blogs and newer media.

Whenever The NotMom can help academic-folk examine the dimensions of childlessness in the US and around the world, we do!

Participants Needed Fall 2018: Interracial Childfree by Choice Couples

Alec Vicenzi, a fourth-year graduate student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, Illinois is preparing his doctoral dissertation focused on African-American/White couples who made the choice to live childfree. Alec described himself to us (26-years old, White) and his work:

"I chose my particular topic because I became very interested in what I was reading about the childfree in the popular media and academic research. Specifically, the stigmatization and backlash which childfree individuals receive, both explicitly and implicitly from society, culture, friends, family, and the media.

"Sorry if I am preaching to the choir here, but I was struck by how ingrained/valued childbearing is in the United States that it often is not seen as a choice, but an expectation of adulthood. As I dove into the existing research some more, I noticed most of the research focuses on White individuals, mostly women. Comparatively, little has been done to give childfree couples or anyone with minority status a voice.

"I believe this is an important issue to pursue, especially given the reproductive double standards and injustices encountered by Black individuals. Ultimately, because I am in the field of clinical psychology, I hope my research can provide mental health professionals with culturally-informed starting point regarding the unique experiences, challenges, and strengths of Black-White interracial childfree couples."

What's Required

Study participants will complete a semi-structured interview about their experiences as a Black-White interracial childfree couple. Primary questions center around the couple's relationship as a couple, as an interracial couple, as a childfree couple, and how all of those factors intersect. The study is approved by IRB, the review board that ensures research meets all ethical and legal requirements. To be eligible, couples must meet the following criteria:

Interviews are estimated to be 90-120 minutes in length. In appreciation, each couple will receive a $20 prepaid Visa gift card. Interviews will not be videotaped. For those outside of Chicago, Alec will conduct interviews via Skype or FaceTime.

  • One member of the couple must identify as Black/African-American and one must identify as White/Caucasian.

  • Affirm they are committed to remaining childfree (i.e. childless by choice)

  • Not have biological children or adopted children from their current or previous relationships

  • Identify as heterosexual

  • Both members must be at least 25 years old

  • Both members must be currently in a relationship with one another for at least one year

  • Be fluent in English

To register or ask questions, contact Alec here.

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