Human Nature

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 137–157 | Cite as

Violence, Teenage Pregnancy, and Life History

Ecological Factors and Their Impact on Strategy-Driven Behavior
  • Lee T. Copping
  • Anne Campbell
  • Steven Muncer


Guided by principles of life history strategy development, this study tested the hypothesis that sexual precocity and violence are influenced by sensitivities to local environmental conditions. Two models of strategy development were compared: The first is based on indirect perception of ecological cues through family disruption and the second is based on both direct and indirect perception of ecological stressors. Results showed a moderate correlation between rates of violence and sexual precocity (r = 0.59). Although a model incorporating direct and indirect effects provided a better fit than one based on family mediation alone, significant improvements were made by linking some ecological factors directly to behavior independently of strategy development. The models support the contention that violence and teenage pregnancy are part of an ecologically determined pattern of strategy development and suggest that while the family unit is critical in affecting behavior, individuals’ direct experiences of the environment are also important.


Life history Violence Teenage pregnancy Evolution Environmental uncertainty 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyDurham UniversityThornaby, Stockton-on-TeesUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyDurham University Science SiteDurhamUK
  3. 3.Clinical Psychology Program, School of Health and Social CareTeesside UniversityMiddlesbroughUK

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