This study examines child survival and growth in a patrilineal Ethiopian community as a function of father absence and sex. In line with evolutionary predictions for sex-biased parental investment, the absence of a father and associated constraints on household resources is more detrimental for sons’ than daughters’ survival in infancy. Father absence doubles a son’s risk of dying in infancy but has a positive influence on the well-being of female members of the household, improving daughter survival, growth, and maternal nutritional status. Lack of paternal investment may be compensated for by other matrilateral kin through increased reciprocity between mother, daughter, and sister.
|Pages (from-to)||263 - 276|
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2008|