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Family RelationshipsAn Evolutionary Perspective$
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Catherine A. Salmon and Todd K. Shackelford

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320510

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320510.001.0001

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Grandparental and Extended Kin Relationships

Grandparental and Extended Kin Relationships

(p.230) 11 Grandparental and Extended Kin Relationships
Family Relationships

Harald A. Euler

Richard L. Michalski

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that grandparenthood may trigger psychological adaptations with relationship-specific features. Grandparental investment cannot be understood adequately without consideration of its Darwinian fitness consequences. Relationships with aunts/uncles and nieces/nephews also cannot be understood without such a consideration. Because parents are mediators of grandparent and grandchild relationships, the evolutionary analysis of grandparenthood sheds light on the seemingly universal plight of in-law relationships, most conspicuous in the conflict between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Investment in progeny and emotional closeness of intergenerational dyads is highly and robustly structured. This structure is parsimoniously and to a considerable extent accounted for by a few basic reproductively relevant variables including sex-specific reproductive strategy and relationship uncertainty.

Keywords:   grandparenthood, reproductive strategy, uncertainty, intergenerational, Darwinian fitness

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