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A life history perspective on maternal emotional investments during infancy

Myers, Sarah, Johns, Sarah E. (2018) A life history perspective on maternal emotional investments during infancy. In: EHBEA 2018 Pecs. Abstract Book. . p. 42. ISBN 978-963-429-225-8. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://psychology.pte.hu/ehbea2018

Abstract

Objective Life history approaches to parental investment have typically highlighted trade-offs humans make by measuring variations in the transfer of resources such as knowledge, wealth, or social status. Such transfers often occur later in the life of offspring, yet parents make investments in their offspring from conception. Mother-infant emotional bonding is associated with infant development, thus may reflect an early form of maternal investment. Bonding may also guide long-term investment motivations, thus have both direct and indirect effects on offspring quality. We use two measures of bonding to assess whether access to emotional support from allocarers affects maternal emotional investment trade-offs, and measures of a mother’s available emotional resources to assess whether emotional investment is costly. Methods A longitudinal survey study tracked 67 Western women from pregnancy to 6 months postpartum. Multiple regression models assessed whether: 1) emotional support positively predicts maternal investment; 2) maternal investment positively predicts a decline in maternal emotional resources. Moderation analysis assessed whether 3) emotional support acts as a buffer against declines in emotional resources. Results Level of overall emotional support from allocarers positively predicted bonding strength, as did support from own family and friends. However, support from the infant’s father negatively predicted bonding strength and time taken to bond, while support from the father’s family negatively predicted the time taken to bond. Bonding strength positively predicted falls in overall emotional resources and emotional intelligence; level of overall support received moderated a variety of dimensions of this relationship. Conclusions Maternal emotional investments appear contingent on circumstance, with bonding incurring a cost when access to emotional support from allocarers is low. Mothers make higher emotional investments in association with higher support from friends and kin, but may offset costs when support is available from their infant’s paternal kin.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Maternal investment, mother-infant bonding, life history trade-offs, allomothers
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Sarah Johns
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2018 18:23 UTC
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 08:32 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/70919 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Johns, Sarah E.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7715-7351
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