Human Nature

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 360–374 | Cite as

Parental Control over Mate Choice to Prevent Marriages with Out-group Members

A Study among Mestizos, Mixtecs, and Blacks in Mexico
  • Abraham P. Buunk
  • Thomas V. Pollet
  • Shelli Dubbs


The present research examined how a preference for influencing the mate choice of one’s offspring is associated with opposition to out-group mating among parents from three ethnic groups in the Mexican state of Oaxaca: mestizos (people of mixed descent, n = 103), indigenous Mixtecs (n = 65), and blacks (n = 35). Nearly all of the men in this study were farmworkers or fishermen. Overall, the level of preferred parental influence on mate choice was higher than in Western populations, but lower than in Asian populations. Only among the Mixtecs were fathers more in favor of parental influence on the mate choice of children than mothers were. As predicted, opposition to out-group mating was an important predictor of preferred parental influence on mate choice, more so among fathers than among mothers, especially in the mestizo group—the group with the highest status. In addition, women, and especially mestizo women, expressed more opposition to out-group mating than men did.


Parent-offspring conflict Parental influence Ethnic groups Arranged marriage Sex differences 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abraham P. Buunk
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas V. Pollet
    • 2
  • Shelli Dubbs
    • 3
  1. 1.Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and SciencesAmsterdamNetherlands
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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