Room: 326 (Postgraduate Workroom 1)
Year of start: 2010
Subject: Evolutionary Anthropology
Research Topic/ Provisional Dissertation Title
Allomaternal Care and Child Outcomes in Modern Britain
Ruth Mace, UCL
Jonathan Wells, Institute of Child Health
Academically, I am broadly interested in investigating the social and environmental influences on child development and wellbeing. So far, my research has progressed with evolutionary theory at its foundation, with special focus on theoretical ideas developed within human behavioural ecology.
In my current research project, I focus on how different family members affect child development in the UK. With a rising interest in cooperative breeding and its effect on human evolution, the influences of allomothers (i.e., anyone who provides investments to children other than the mother) on child outcomes are under increasing attention. Previous research within human behavioural ecology has focused on high fertility, high mortality populations where allomothers are generally found to have positive influences on child survival, though who matters vary between populations. With this as the background, my research has focused on investigating whether allomaternal carers are important in a modern developed setting, where societal shifts such as smaller kin networks and state welfare may influence how much mothers are dependent on others for successful childrearing.
Specifically, I have been investigating if and how care-giving by fathers, stepfathers and grandparents influence multiple child outcomes in the UK. For this, I have been using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and the UK Millenium Cohort Study.
Outside of my research life, I am a casual badminton player with a keen interest in good food & natural history.
Current Research Interests
- Paternal Effects on Child Outcomes
- Stepfather Effects on Child Outcomes
- Grandparental Effects on Parenting Behaviours and Child Outcomes
MSc Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (Distinction) (2010) University of Oxford Thesis: Marital Stability in Modern Market Economies: An Evolutionary Approach
BSc (Hons) Human Sciences (2:1) (2009) University College London Thesis: Is Consanguinity an Adaptive Strategy? The Costs and Benefits of Marrying Your Cousin
Honours and Awards
- The Dr Nicola Knight Dissertation Prize in Quantitative Methods
- EHBEA Conference 2012 Best Student Poster
Medical Research Council / Economic and Social Research Council / European Research Council
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