Stepparenting, Divorce, and Investment in Children

Kermyt G. Anderson

in The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Family Psychology

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195396690
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Stepparenting, Divorce, and Investment in Children

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  • Social Psychology
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Human males routinely invest in offspring, but union dissolution and subsequent union formation result in complex family relationships, with men expected to provide care for children from current and previous unions. Many men face the challenge of how much to invest in genetic offspring following divorce, and whether to invest (and if so, how much) in stepchildren following remarriage. Men bias parental care toward their genetic offspring from current mates, with genetic offspring from former relationships and stepchildren from current relationships both receiving lower levels of investment. This chapter reviews the empirical evidence regarding investments in children following divorce, as well as investments in stepchildren, and presents a biosocial model that attempts to explain men’s investment patterns in genetic children and stepchildren from current and previous relationships, a synthetic approach lacking in most models of male parental care.

Keywords: Child support; cohabitation; divorce; stepfather; union dissolution

Article.  12123 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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