Skip to main content

Grandfather Investment Versus Grandmother Investment


Alloparenting; Biased grandparental investment; Grandparental involvement; Sex effect


The investment of grandfathers and grandmothers includes different types of support and resources grandparents can target toward their grandchildren. Grandparental investments can include different types of actions, for instance, financial transfers, emotional support, and care. Grandparents can invest in their grandchildren either directly or indirectly via a third party (e.g., via the grandchildren’s parents). Typically, grandfathers tend to invest less in their grandchildren than grandmothers, except when comparing paternal grandmother’s and maternal grandfather’s investment.


Grandparents share, on average, 25% of the same genes with their grandchildren, and thus, they can increase their inclusive fitness by investing time and resources in their descendants. Nonetheless, all grandparent types tend not to be in the same position with each other in their relations...


  • Grandparental Investment
  • Paternal Grandmother
  • Maternal Grandfather
  • Paternity Uncertainty
  • Grandparent Involvement

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.


  • Coall, D. A., & Hertwig, R. (2010). Grandparental investment: Past, present, and future. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 1–59.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Coall, D. A., Hilbrand, S., Sear, R., & Hertwig, R. (2016). A new niche? The theory of grandfather involvement. In A. Buchanan & A. Rotkirch (Eds.), Grandfathers: Global perspectives (pp. 21–44). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    CrossRef  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  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. 181–210). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hank, K., & Buber, I. (2009). Grandparents caring for their grandchildren: Findings from the 2004 survey of health, ageing, and retirement in Europe. Journal of Family Issues, 30, 53–73.

    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  Google Scholar 

  • Sear, R., & Coall, D. A. (2011). How much does family matter? Cooperative breeding and the demographic transition. Population and Development Review, 37, 81–112.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

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

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Tanskanen, A. O., & Danielsbacka, M. (2017). Multigenerational effects on children’s cognitive and socioemotional outcomes: A within-child investigation. Child Development, 88.

  • Tanskanen, A. O., & Danielsbacka, M. (2018). Intergenerational family relations. An evolutionary social science approach. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Antti O. Tanskanen .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature

About this entry

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Tanskanen, A.O., Danielsbacka, M. (2018). Grandfather Investment Versus Grandmother Investment. In: Shackelford, T., Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • 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