Social support and women’s reproductive decision making: testing emergent fit of “optimizing support for the preservation of self” Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the strong association between social support and positive health outcomes, little is understood about its role in women’s reproductive decision making. Developing insight into how women perceive, mobilize, and experience social support is critical to understanding their lived experiences of reproductive decision making and to implementing appropriate supporting structures to help women realize their reproductive choices. In this study, emergent fit with existing inductive research on the phenomenon of reproductive support is discussed. The existing theory of “optimizing social support for the preservation of self” and its underpinning categorical framework is maintained, but the extant categorical themes were all nuanced, refined, replaced, or removed to better reflect the support phenomenon among a wider cohort of women. This article builds on the existing knowledge base by producing a substantive theory of “optimizing social support for the preservation of self” with wider applicability.

publication date

  • 2020