Is Parent-Offspring Conflict Sex-Linked? Freudian and Darwinian Models


  • We thank Carolyn Block and Joanne Lacroix for their generous assistance in providing the homicide data for Chicago and Canada, respectively Our homicide research has been supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Constructive critical comments upon an earlier draft were provided by Randy Nesse and two anonymous reviewers

should be addressed to Martin Daly or Margo Wilson, Department of Psychology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1


ABSTRACT Freud's Oedipal theory sees parent-offspring conflict as a within-gender rivalry, whereas most modern evolutionary models interpret it as a gender-blind disagreement about resource allocation New analyses of family homicides and a critical review of prior evidence do not support the central Freudian claim of a same-sex contingency in parent-offspring antagonism during the Oedipal phase Several errors of fact and interpretation in psychoanalytic theorizing about family relations are discussed We argue that psychoanalysts mistake substantive conflicts between nonrelatives for symbolic manifestations of family conflicts