Grandparental Investment

Introduction

Over the time, the longer lifespan, evolving lifestyles, health advantages, changing retirement views and more mobile societies have changed the lives of grandparents. However, whilst the functions of these grandparents have evolved, grandparents still have a steady and imperative position in their children and grandchildren’s lives (Pashos, 2000). Nowadays grandparents continue to provide care for grandchildren, offer moral support and advice, and also give financial assistance (Bjorklund, & Hernandez-Blasi, 2012). Through a simple survey of a set of grandchildren to assess the pattern of grandparental care giving, based on four cases, the maternal grandmother appeared the most caring. Contrary to the common gender typecasts, the maternal grandfather followed the grandma, then the paternal grandma and finally the paternal grandpa. Additionally, the favored grandparental solicitude is not affected by the residential distance (Pollet et al. 2008). The present study attempts to explore the differences in grandparental investments to the grandchildren.

Grandparental Investment

The modern societies claim kinship to have small significance for social interaction. Nevertheless, from an evolutionary viewpoint, the biological relatedness seems as an eternally powerful social investments determinant even in the modern societies (Pollet et al. 2008). In favor of this, previous research has documented evidence that grandmothers provide significant benefits to the grandchildren (Pashos, 2000). The present study has observed similar findings. Regardless of the gradual family structures disintegration and vanishing of the three-generation relation in the modern societies, the affiliation between grandchildren and grandparents seems to preserve its importance.

The results of the received grandparental care for the four complete cases of the respondents confirmed the hypotheses of evolutionary psychology. The motherly grandmothers emerge the most caring; the maternal grandfather followed the grandmother, then the fatherly grandmother and at last, the fatherly grandfather. The motherly grandparents spend extra time with the grandchildren than the fatherly grandparents, with the grandmothers contacting more than the grandfathers provided in both lineages. The participants also reported feeling closer to the maternal grandmothers, followed, in order, by the maternal grandpas, then fatherly grandmas and the fatherly grandfathers.

The evolutionary theory of parental investment suggests that women and men differ in the amount of investment in the children (Pollet et al. 2008). According to the theory, maternal grandparents would invest more in the grandchildren compared to the paternal grandparents. This difference in parental investment is a result of the dissimilarity between the uncertainties of paternity and the certainties of maternity (Pollet et al. 2008). The present study used a retrospective rating using grandchildren instead of examining the grandparental behavior. The significant differences occurred between the paternal and maternal grand-parents in terms of the incidences of contact with the grandchildren.

These findings suggest that, for humans, the grandmothers might have a substantial impact upon the fitness of the grandchildren and so the inclusive fitness (Bjorklund, & Hernandez-Blasi, 2012). These fitness benefits, along with other traits, potentially describe the progression of a long post-menopausal lifetime in women. On the contrary, the grandfathers appear to have little or no effect upon the fitness of the grandchildren. Little selection pressure seems to exist for a post-reproductive lifespan in men (Pollet et al. 2008). Besides, one would, however, predict from an evolutionary viewpoint that lineage and grandparent’s sex would influence the grandparental investment level (Bjorklund, & Hernandez-Blasi, 2012). The maternal grandparents would invest more in the grandchildren compared to the paternal grandparents. The maternal grandparents invest more because they relate to grandchildren by individual maternity instead of uncertain paternity (Pollet et al. 2008).

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In line with these predictions based upon paternity uncertainty, the present study found differences in solicitude between the paternal and maternal grandparents. Previous research has also documented similar differences between the patrilines and matrilines for aunts and uncles (Pollet et al. 2008). Individuals thus seem to spend more in the matriline compared to the patriline (Bjorklund, & Hernandez-Blasi, 2012). Pollet et al. (2008) argues that the evolved psychological mechanisms adjusted to the paternal uncertainty explain such differential investments.

The present study also found that maternal grandparents provided significantly broader ranges of financials benefits compared to the paternal grandparents. Additionally, the maternal grandparents more possibly provided essentials, extras and gifts for the grandchildren (Pollet et al. 2008). Multiple correspondence analysis demonstrated that the interaction rates systematically correlated to other measures of the grandparental investments. All of the four respondents confirmed that the grandparents have provided monetary gifts or financial support in the past, with cash and the most common type, with an average amount of $ 300 per month. Additionally, all of the respondents rated the grandparents in the order of (+3) very close to maternal parents, and (-1) just close to the patrilineal grandparents.

The data from the four respondents regarding the distances in kilometers to the grandparents logarithmically transformed into counter distortions with some parents living extremely far away. The respondents’ distances were 2 km, 3 km, 6 km, and 7 km and so on. As expected, the distance between the residences correlated negatively with solicitude. The numerical values of the distance coefficients did not illustrate the theoretically derived gradations. The results indicate that the care for the grandchildren looked like an adaptation least facultative for the maternal grandmothers and the most facultative for the paternal ancestors (Pashos, 2000).

The chief finding is that with control of the other factors, the differences in the contact frequency between the fatherly grandparents and the motherly grandparents remain constant. These variations between the grandmas and between both grandfathers suggest the existence of the psychological manners attuned to fatherhood doubt in operation (Pollet et al. 2008). Additionally, the differences between the fatherly grandmas and motherly grandfathers are attributable to the grandparents’ co-residence, accessible investment outlets or sex-specific investment tactics. In brief, the present study’s results support the hypothesis of the differences in face-to-face contacts as well as investment in line with the fatherhood doubt (Pashos, 2000).

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Conclusions

Evolution has structured both the composition of the adult form of an organism and the whole ontogeny (Bjorklund, & Hernandez-Blasi, 2012).  Parental solicitude appears as a discriminated subset of the parental endeavor and barely an undifferentiated annex of parental effort (Pashos, 2000). The comparison of the paternal grandparents with the maternal grandparents with respect to care-giving illustrates this viewpoint. The paternal grandparents apparently provide less care for the grandchildren than the maternal grandparents. 

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