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Article

Mother’s Partnership Status and Allomothering Networks in the United Kingdom and United States

1
Religion Programme, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
2
Centre for Research of Evolution, Belief and Behaviour, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
3
Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16801, USA
4
Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
5
Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Paula Sheppard, Kristin Snopkowski and Nigel Parton
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(5), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10050182
Received: 1 April 2021 / Revised: 28 April 2021 / Accepted: 13 May 2021 / Published: 20 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Behavioral Ecology of the Family)
In high-income, low-fertility (HILF) settings, the mother’s partner is a key provider of childcare. However, it is not clear how mothers without partners draw on other sources of support to raise children. This paper reports the findings from a survey of 1532 women in the United Kingdom and the United States, in which women described who provided childcare for a focal child and how frequently they did so. We use multivariate Bayesian regression models to explore the drivers of support from partners, maternal kin, and other allomothers, as well as the potential impact of allomothering on women’s fertility. Relative to mothers who are in a stable first marriage or cohabitation, mothers who are unpartnered rely more heavily on fewer maternal kin, use more paid help, and have networks which include more non-kin helpers. Repartnered mothers received less help from their partners in the UK and less help from maternal kin in both countries, which US mothers compensated for by relying on other helpers. While repartnered mothers had higher age-adjusted fertility than women in a first partnership, allomaternal support was not clearly related to the mother’s fertility. These findings demonstrate the importance of partners but also of allomothering more broadly in HILF settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: cooperative breeding; behavioral ecology; pair-bonding; fertility; social support; paternal investment; evolutionary demography cooperative breeding; behavioral ecology; pair-bonding; fertility; social support; paternal investment; evolutionary demography
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MDPI and ACS Style

Spake, L.; Schaffnit, S.B.; Sear, R.; Shenk, M.K.; Sosis, R.; Shaver, J.H. Mother’s Partnership Status and Allomothering Networks in the United Kingdom and United States. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10, 182. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10050182

AMA Style

Spake L, Schaffnit SB, Sear R, Shenk MK, Sosis R, Shaver JH. Mother’s Partnership Status and Allomothering Networks in the United Kingdom and United States. Social Sciences. 2021; 10(5):182. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10050182

Chicago/Turabian Style

Spake, Laure, Susan B. Schaffnit, Rebecca Sear, Mary K. Shenk, Richard Sosis, and John H. Shaver. 2021. "Mother’s Partnership Status and Allomothering Networks in the United Kingdom and United States" Social Sciences 10, no. 5: 182. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10050182

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