, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 25-51
Date: 06 Feb 2009

Effects of Harsh and Unpredictable Environments in Adolescence on Development of Life History Strategies

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The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data were used to test predictions from life history theory. We hypothesized that (1) in young adulthood an emerging life history strategy would exist as a common factor underlying many life history traits (e.g., health, relationship stability, economic success), (2) both environmental harshness and unpredictability would account for unique variance in expression of adolescent and young adult life history strategies, and (3) adolescent life history traits would predict young adult life history strategy. These predictions were supported. The current findings suggest that the environmental parameters of harshness and unpredictability have concurrent effects on life history development in adolescence, as well as longitudinal effects into young adulthood. In addition, life history traits appear to be stable across developmental time from adolescence into young adulthood.