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Allomaternal Investments and Child Outcomes in the United Kingdom

Emmott, EH; (2015) Allomaternal Investments and Child Outcomes in the United Kingdom. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Due to the fact that human mothers often have multiple, vulnerable offspring with long periods of dependency, it is argued that mothers need assistance from allomothers to successfully provide and care for their children. Cross-cultural observations and quantitative research converge on support for the idea that mothers in high fertility, high mortality populations need assistance from other individuals for successful childrearing. It is also clear within the literature that there is variation across populations in terms of who matters: who provides the help, how they help, and how much impact they have on childrearing. The current thesis extends from previous studies by exploring the effects of allomothers on childrearing in a contemporary developed context: With economic development and the demographic transition, questions arise regarding the importance of allomothers for successful childrearing, and whether humans in these settings still operate as cooperative breeders. This thesis specifically focuses on quantitatively investigating the effects of fathers, stepfathers and grandparents on child development in the UK. First, using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, I investigate how direct investments from fathers and stepfathers affect multiple child outcomes. Second, using the UK Millennium Cohort Study, I investigate how direct and indirect investments from maternal and paternal grandparents affect parental investment levels, as well as multiple child outcomes. Taken together, my findings suggest that allomothers do indeed impact child development in the UK. However, the important allomothers seem to be those within the nuclear household. This is in contrast with many high-fertility, high mortality populations where grandmothers, especially maternal grandmothers, are often the most important allomothers regarding child survival, and fathers less so. Within its limits, the current thesis highlights who matters for childrearing in the UK today.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Allomaternal Investments and Child Outcomes in the United Kingdom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468740
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