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Confidence of paternity, divorce, and investment in children by Albuquerque men

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Anderson, Kermyt G., Hillard Kaplan, and J.B. Lancaster. 2007. "Confidence of paternity, divorce, and investment in children by Albuquerque men." Evolution and Human Behavior, 28: 1-10.

Using a sample of men living in Albuquerque, NM, we examined the relationship between paternity confidence and men's investment in children. In humans, men may reduce their investment in a child in two ways: indirectly, by ending their relationship with the child's mother and ceasing to cohabit with the child (e.g., divorce), and directly, by allocating less time and fewer resources to the child. In this article, we tested two hypotheses regarding the effect of paternity confidence on investment in children: (1) men will be more likely to divorce women if they suspect or are sure that they are not the father of their wife's child, and (2) controlling for divorce, men will reduce direct investments in low paternity confidence children relative to high paternity confidence children. The first hypothesis was supported by the data. The second hypothesis was supported for two out of three measures of paternal investment we examined; low paternity confidence reduces the time men spend with a child in a group with other children or adults, and it reduces extensive involvement with the child's educational progress; there was no effect of paternity confidence on the amount of time men spend with children in one-on-one interactions. We also examined the effects of unstated paternity confidence (e.g., when men decline to answer the question) on divorce and paternal investment. Overall, the results suggested that paternity confidence plays an important role in shaping men's relationships with women and with their putative genetic children.

DOI:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2006.06.004 (Full Text)

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