The value of children: alloparenting in Samoa

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Forrester, Deanna Lee
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Department of Psychology
This thesis examines the impact of alloparenting by children in Samoa. Survey data was used to explore whether children’s help in the household (“alloparental care”) influenced female fertility. I showed that children’s help had positive effects on both number of offspring and interbirth interval, but there was no influence of the sex of the first-born offspring; that is, having first-born daughters as potential helpers did not boost female reproduction compared to first-born sons. Building on this finding, I present ethological data on daily activities (including allocare) observed in twenty-five Samoan households in a single village. Contrary to received wisdom, these data showed that a division of labour by sex is not evident in children under the age of fifteen. I suggest this explains the lack of an effect of offspring sex. Finally, understanding the necessity of ecologically valid measures is explored through a series of open-ended interviews with Samoan women.
Child caregivers -- Samoa , Kinship care -- Samoa , Child rearing -- Samoa , Brothers and sisters -- Samoa , Samoa -- Social life and customs , Families -- Samoa , Fertility, Human -- Research -- Samoa , Fertility, Human -- Social aspects -- Samoa , alloparenting by children , female fertility , allocare , sibling alloparenting , childhood division of labour , sex of first-born , fertility rate , Dissertations, Academic