Skip to main content

Importance of Maternal Grandmother

  • 782 Accesses

If one asks people which of their four grandparents provided the most care for them when they were a child or to which grandparent they feel closest, the most people will answer the maternal grandmother.

Indeed, many research studies found that the intensity of caregiving by the four grandparents is not the same but regularly different. In most urban societies, grandmothers typically invest more in grandchildren than grandfathers, and maternal grandparents invest typically more than paternal. Thus, grandparental caregiving (i.e., their grandchild care, investment of resources, solicitude, involvement, and contact frequency) follows the asymmetric pattern: maternal grandmother provides on average the most caregiving for grandchildren, followed by the maternal grandfather and the paternal grandmother, and the paternal grandfather provides the least caregiving (Smith 1988; Euler and Weitzel 1996; Salmon 1999; Pashos 2000; Pashos and McBurney 2008; Danielsbacka et al. 2011; Pashos et al. 2016...

Keywords

  • Maternal Grandmother
  • Paternal Grandmother
  • Maternal Grandfather
  • Grandchild Care
  • Paternal Grandfather

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Anderson, K. G. (2006). How well does paternity confidence match actual paternity? Evidence from worldwide nonpaternity rates. Current Anthropology, 47, 513–520.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Beise, J. (2005). The helping and helpful grandmother: The role of maternal and paternal grandmothers in child mortality in the seventeenth and eighteenth century population of French settlers in Quebec, Canada. In E. Voland, A. Chasiotis, & W. Schiefenhövel (Eds.), Grandmotherhood: The evolutionary significance of the second half of female life (pp. 215–238). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chan, C. G., & Elder Jr., G. H. (2000). Matrilineal advantage in grandparent–grandchild relations. The Gerontologist, 40, 179–190.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Crittenden, A., & Marlowe, F. (2008). Allomaternal care among the Hadza of Tanzania. Human Nature, 19, 249–262.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Danielsbacka, M., Tanskanen, A. O., Jokela, M., & Rotkirch, A. (2011). Grandparental child care in Europe: Evidence for preferential investment in more certain kin. Evolutionary Psychology, 9, 3–24.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dubas, J. S. (2001). How gender moderates the grandparent–grandchild relationship: A comparison of kin-keeper and kin-selector theories. Journal of Family Issues, 22, 478–492.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Euler, H. A. (2011). Grandparents and extended kin. In C. A. Salmon & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of evolutionary family psychology (pp. 181–207). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Euler, H. A., Hoier, S., & Rohde, P. (2009). Relationship–specific intergenerational family ties: An evolutionary approach to the structure of cultural transmission. In U. Schönpflug (Ed.), Cultural transmission: Psychological, developmental, social, and methodological aspects (pp. 70–91). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Euler, H. A., & Weitzel, B. (1996). Discriminative grandparental solicitude as reproductive strategy. Human Nature, 7, 39–59.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gaulin, S. J. C., McBurney, D. H., & Brakeman-Wartell, S. L. (1997). Matrilateral biases in the investment of aunts and uncles. Human Nature, 8, 139–151.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hawkes, K., O’Connell, J. F., Blurton Jones, N. G., Alvarez, H. P., & Charnov, E. L. (1998). Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 95, 1336–1339.

    CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Hill, K., & Hurtado, A. M. (2009). Cooperative breeding in south American hunter-gatherers. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 276, 3863–3870.

    CrossRef  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Hrdy, S. B. (2005). Cooperative breeders with an ace in the hole. In E. Voland, A. Chasiotis, & W. Schiefenhövel (Eds.), Grandmotherhood: The evolutionary significance of the second half of female life (pp. 295–317). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaptijn, R., Thomese, F., Liefbroer, A. C., & Silverstein, M. (2013). Testing evolutionary theories of discriminative grandparental investment. Journal of Biosocial Science, 45, 1–22.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • King, V. (2003). The legacy of a grandparent's divorce: Consequences for ties between grandparents and grandchildren. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 65, 170–183.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • King, V., Silverstein, M., Elder Jr., G. H., Bengtson, V. L., & Conger, R. D. (2003). Relations with grandparents: Rural Midwest versus urban southern California. Journal of Family Issues, 24, 1044–1069.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kramer, K. L. (2010). Cooperative breeding and its significance to the demographic success of humans. Annual Review of Anthropology, 39, 417–436.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Laham, S. M., Gonsalkorale, K., & von Hippel, W. (2005). Darwinian grandparenting: Preferential investment in more certain kin. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 63–72.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, E., Spitze, G., & Logan, J. R. (2003). Social support to parents-in-law: The interplay of gender and kin hierarchies. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 65, 396–403.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Leonetti, D. L., Nath, D. C., Hemam, N. S., & Neill, D. B. (2005). Kinship organisation and the impact of grandmothers on reproductive success among the matrilineal Khasi and patrilineal Bengali of Northeast India. In E. Voland, A. Chasiotis, & W. Schiefenhövel (Eds.), Grandmotherhood: The evolutionary significance of the second half of female life (pp. 194–214). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marlowe, F. (2000). The patriarch hypothesis: An alternative explanation of menopause. Human Nature, 11, 27–42.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McBurney, D., Simon, J., Gaulin, S. J. C., & Geliebter, A. (2002). Matrilateral biases in the investment of aunts and uncles: Replication in a population presumed to have high paternity uncertainty. Human Nature, 13, 391–402.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Michalski, R. L., & Shackelford, T. K. (2005). Grandparental investment as a function of relational uncertainty and emotional closeness with parent. Human Nature, 16, 293–305.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Monserud, M. A. (2008). Intergenerational relationships and affectual solidarity between grandparents and young adults. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 70, 182–195.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pashos, A. (2000). Does paternal uncertainty explain discriminative grandparental solicitude? A cross-cultural study in Greece and Germany. Evolution and Human Behavior, 21, 97–109.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pashos, A., & McBurney, D. H. (2008). Kin relationships and the caregiving biases of grandparents, aunts and uncles: A two generational questionnaire study. Human Nature, 19, 311–330.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pashos, A., Schwarz, S., & Bjorklund, D. F. (2016). Kin investment by step-grandparents–more than expected. Evolutionary Psychology, 14, 1–13. doi:10.1177/1474704916631213.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Perry, G., Daly, M., & Macfarlan, S. (2014). Maternal foster families provide more stable placements than paternal families. Children and Youth Services Review, 46, 155–159.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ragsdale, G. (2004). Grandmothering in Cambridgeshire, 1770–1861. Human Nature, 15, 301–317.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Russell, R. J. H., & Wells, P. A. (1987). Estimating paternity confidence. Ethology and Sociobiology, 8, 215–220.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Salmon, C. A. (1999). On the impact of sex and birth order on contact with kin. Human Nature, 10, 183–197.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schiefenhövel, W., & Grabolle, A. (2005). The role of maternal grandmothers in Tobriand adoptions. In E. Voland, A. Chasiotis, & W. Schiefenhövel (Eds.), Grandmotherhood. The evolutionary significance of the second half of female life (pp. 177–193). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sear, R., & Mace, R. (2008). Who keeps children alive? A review of the effects of kin on child survival. Evolution and Human Behavior, 29, 1–18.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sear, R., Mace, R., & McGregor, I. A. (2000). Maternal grandmothers improve the nutritional status and survival of children in rural Gambia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 267, 461–467.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, M. S. (1988). Research in developmental sociobiology: Parenting and family behavior. In K. B. Mac-Donald (Ed.), Sociobiological perspectives on human development (pp. 271–292). New York: Springer.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sorenson Jamison, C., Cornell, L. L., Jamison, P. L., & Nakazato, H. (2002). Are all grandmothers equal? A review and a preliminary test of the “grandmother hypothesis” in Tokugawa Japan. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 119, 67–76.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Strassmann, B. I., & Garrard, W. M. (2011). Alternatives to the grandmother hypothesis: A meta-analysis of the association between grandparental and grandchild survival in patrilineal populations. Human Nature, 22, 201–222.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Voland, E., & Beise, J. (2002). Opposite effects of maternal and paternal grandmothers on infant survival in historical Krummhörn. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 52, 435–443.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alexander Pashos .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing AG

About this entry

Cite this entry

Pashos, A. (2017). Importance of Maternal Grandmother. In: Shackelford, T., Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1192-1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1192-1

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-16999-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-16999-6

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Behavioral Science and PsychologyReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences