Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-tj2md Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-20T17:36:03.220Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 August 2014

University of Helsinki, Finland


Kin selection theory predicts that individuals may increase their inclusive fitness by investing in their genetically related kin. In addition, according to the reproductive value hypothesis, individuals may increase their fitness more by investing in their kin in descending rather than ascending order. The present study uses the Generational Transmissions in Finland data collected in 2012 (n=601 women) and analyses whether childless younger women invest more in their kin than younger women with children. The study finds that childless women are more likely than mothers to invest in their nieces and nephews but not their aunts and uncles. Thus the results are in line with the reproductive value prediction.

Short Report
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Abma, J. C. & Martinez, G. M. (2006) Childlessness among older women in the United States: trends and profiles. Journal of Marriage and Family 68, 10451056.Google Scholar
Albertini, M. & Kohli, M. (2009) What childless older people give: is the generational link broken? Ageing and Society 29, 12611274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beck, U. & Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2002) Individualization. Sage Publications, London.Google Scholar
Buchanan, A. & Rotkirch, A. (eds) (2013) Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
Essock-Vitale, S. M. & McGuire, M. T. (1985) Women's lives viewed from an evolutionary perspective. II. Patterns of helping. Ethology and Sociobiology 6, 155173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hakim, C. (2005) Childlessness in Europe. Economic and Social Research Council, Swindon.Google Scholar
Hamilton, W. D. (1964) The genetical evolution of social behaviour I and II. Journal of Theoretical Biology 7, 152.Google Scholar
Hughes, A. (1988) Evolution and Human Kinship. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Jokela, M., Alvergne, A., Pollet, T. V. & Lummaa, V. (2011) Reproductive behavior and personality traits of the Five Factor Model. European Journal of Personality 25, 487500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Komter, A. E. & Vollebergh, W. A. M. (2002) Solidarity in Dutch families: family ties under strain? Journal of Family Issues 23, 171188.Google Scholar
Michalski, R. L. & Euler, H. A. (2008) Evolutionary perspectives on sibling relationships. In Salmon, C. A. & Shackelford, T. K. (eds) Family Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 185204.Google Scholar
Pollet, T. V. & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2008) Childlessness predicts helping of nieces and nephews in United States, 1910. Journal of Biosocial Science 40, 761770.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pollet, T. V. & Hoben, A. D. (2011) An evolutionary perspective on siblings: rivals and resources. In Salmon, C. A. & Shackelford, T. K. (eds) The Oxford Handbook on Evolutionary Family Psychology. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 128148.Google Scholar
Pollet, T. V., Kuppens, T. & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2006) When nieces and nephews become important: differences between childless women and mothers in relationships with nieces and nephews. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 4, 8393.Google Scholar
Statistics Finland (2012) Families. Statistics Finland, Helsinki.Google Scholar
Wenger, G. C., Scott, A. & Patterson, N. (2000) How important is parenthood? Childlessness and support in old age in England. Ageing and Society 20, 161182.Google Scholar