The Fitness Effects of Men's Family Investments : A Test of Three Pathways in a Single Population. Academic Article uri icon


  • Men's investments in parenting and long-term reproductive relationships are a hallmark feature of human reproduction and life history. The uniqueness of such male involvement among catarrhines has driven an extensive debate surrounding the selective pressures that led to and maintain such capacities in men. Three major pathways have been proposed through which men's involvement might confer fitness benefits: enhancing child well-being, increasing couple fertility, and decreasing likelihood of partner desertion. Previous research has explored the impact of father involvement on these factors individually, but here we present novel research that explores all three pathways within the same population, the Mayangna/Miskito horticulturalists of Nicaragua. Furthermore, we expand the traditional dichotomous measure of father presence/absence by using a continuous measure of overall male investment, as well as two continuous measures of its subcomponents: direct care and wealth. We find that men's investments are associated with children's growth and possibly with wife's marital satisfaction; however, they are not associated with couple fertility.

published proceedings

  • Hum Nat

altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • Winking, J., & Koster, J.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Winking, Jeffrey||Koster, Jeremy

publication date

  • January 2015