SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • paternity assessment;
  • abortion;
  • miscarriage;
  • life-history theory

Abstract

We examine the demographic correlates of paternity confidence, or men's assessment of the likelihood that they are the genetic father of a particular child. Evolutionary theory predicts that men will provide less parental investment for putative genetic offspring who are unlikely to be their actual offspring, but confidence of paternity has not been as extensively examined as its importance would merit. Using self-reported data on paternity confidence in 3,360 pregnancies reported by men living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we find that low paternity confidence is more common among unmarried couples and for unplanned pregnancies. We also find that men are more likely not to state paternity confidence (i.e., they refuse to answer the question) if a pregnancy is unplanned. We additionally examine the pregnancy outcomes associated with confidence of paternity. We find that low paternity confidence pregnancies are significantly more likely to be aborted, and pregnancies for which paternity confidence is unstated are more likely to be aborted or to miscarry. Both abortion and miscarriage are associated with unmarried couples, with unplanned pregnancies, and with couples who have fewer children together. Am J Phys Anthropol 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.