Lost Daughters and Fragile Sons: Patterns of Differential Parental Investment Across Thirty-five Countries

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195938
Title:
Lost Daughters and Fragile Sons: Patterns of Differential Parental Investment Across Thirty-five Countries
Author:
Guggenheim, Cordelia Barbara Ursula
Issue Date:
2005
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Survivorship of children is unsurprisingly dependent upon numerous variables, not least of which is the role that preferential treatment plays in biasing the birth and survival of sons and daughters across cultures. This study draws upon an evolutionary approach by examining the "Trivers-Willard hypothesis" concerning condition-dependent sex allocation and differential parental investment. The central idea is that within a polygynous social mating structure - where reproductive variance is higher for males than for females as an intrinsic function of polygyny - mothers in optimal condition (defined by high status, good health, and abundant resources) are more likely to produce and invest in male offspring whereas mothers in poor condition (defined by low status, poor health, and resource deprivation) are more likely to produce and invest in female offspring so as to maximize potential lifetime reproductive success. Previous research on humans concerning this hypothesis tends to be restricted to one cultural group and thereby limited in sample size. For this study, nationally representative household survey data collected by the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS+) program across 35 countries was used to test biological, resource-oriented, and behavioral aspects affecting maternal condition, sex allocation, and parental investment in humans. Country samples ranged from 732 to 21,839 women interviewed within South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean/Latin America, and the Near East/North Africa. The units of analysis were the mothers and their lastborn child (N = 128,039 woman-child pairs). A sequence of hierarchical regressions theoretically pre-specified a causal model concerning four constructed scales measuring maternal socioeconomic resources, maternal biological condition, prenatal care for the lastborn child, and health-seeking for the lastborn child. In startling contrast to the predictions of the original hypothesis, analysis of the overall model revealed small, yet stable, cross-regional main effects suggesting that - for all four regions – maternal biology predicts lastborn daughters while maternal resources predict lastborn daughters for each region, with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, protective/preventative health-related behaviors predict lastborn sons within South Asia and the Near East/North Africa, while prenatal care and health-seeking are differentially attributed to the prediction of sons and daughters within Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean/Latin America.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
evolutionary biology; reproductive success; parental investment; sex ratios; infanticide; Trivers-Willard hypothesis
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Psychology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Figueredo, Aurelio J
Committee Chair:
Figueredo, Aurelio J

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleLost Daughters and Fragile Sons: Patterns of Differential Parental Investment Across Thirty-five Countriesen_US
dc.creatorGuggenheim, Cordelia Barbara Ursulaen_US
dc.contributor.authorGuggenheim, Cordelia Barbara Ursulaen_US
dc.date.issued2005en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractSurvivorship of children is unsurprisingly dependent upon numerous variables, not least of which is the role that preferential treatment plays in biasing the birth and survival of sons and daughters across cultures. This study draws upon an evolutionary approach by examining the "Trivers-Willard hypothesis" concerning condition-dependent sex allocation and differential parental investment. The central idea is that within a polygynous social mating structure - where reproductive variance is higher for males than for females as an intrinsic function of polygyny - mothers in optimal condition (defined by high status, good health, and abundant resources) are more likely to produce and invest in male offspring whereas mothers in poor condition (defined by low status, poor health, and resource deprivation) are more likely to produce and invest in female offspring so as to maximize potential lifetime reproductive success. Previous research on humans concerning this hypothesis tends to be restricted to one cultural group and thereby limited in sample size. For this study, nationally representative household survey data collected by the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS+) program across 35 countries was used to test biological, resource-oriented, and behavioral aspects affecting maternal condition, sex allocation, and parental investment in humans. Country samples ranged from 732 to 21,839 women interviewed within South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean/Latin America, and the Near East/North Africa. The units of analysis were the mothers and their lastborn child (N = 128,039 woman-child pairs). A sequence of hierarchical regressions theoretically pre-specified a causal model concerning four constructed scales measuring maternal socioeconomic resources, maternal biological condition, prenatal care for the lastborn child, and health-seeking for the lastborn child. In startling contrast to the predictions of the original hypothesis, analysis of the overall model revealed small, yet stable, cross-regional main effects suggesting that - for all four regions – maternal biology predicts lastborn daughters while maternal resources predict lastborn daughters for each region, with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, protective/preventative health-related behaviors predict lastborn sons within South Asia and the Near East/North Africa, while prenatal care and health-seeking are differentially attributed to the prediction of sons and daughters within Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean/Latin America.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectevolutionary biologyen_US
dc.subjectreproductive successen_US
dc.subjectparental investmenten_US
dc.subjectsex ratiosen_US
dc.subjectinfanticideen_US
dc.subjectTrivers-Willard hypothesisen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePsychologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorFigueredo, Aurelio Jen_US
dc.contributor.chairFigueredo, Aurelio Jen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKing, James E.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBecker, Judith V.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDavis, Melinda F.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest1132en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659747431en_US
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