Daughters and sons

Kevin Lewis

September 09, 2018

The First Daughter Effect: The Impact of Fathering Daughters on Men’s Preferences for Gender Equality Policies
Elizabeth Sharrow et al.
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming


An extensive literature on the politics of the family suggests that familial relationships play a central role in individuals’ political socialization and can ultimately shape one’s policy preferences. A current debate within this literature deals with the impact of daughters on fathers’ political attitudes. In this article, we address this debate in relation to a specific set of policy preferences and ask: does the experience of fathering daughters affect men’s opinions toward gender equality policies? In answering this question, we examine three specific, theoretically-motivated propositions: first, that having a daughter leads men to see the benefits of public policies that aim to reduce gender inequality and therefore to support those policies; second, that fathers with a larger proportion of daughters express stronger support for these policies; and finally, that having a daughter as a man’s first child is a critical event in the political socialization of men, such that this experience of “first daughterhood” will lead to higher levels of support for gender equality policies. We use original representative survey data from a module on the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) to test these three hypotheses. The results of our analyses suggest that the experience of having a daughter as a first child – but not the effect of having a daughter in general or the experience of having a higher proportion of daughters – significantly increases fathers’ support for policies designed to increase gender equality.

Trends in U.S. Adolescents’ media use, 1976–2016: The rise of digital media, the decline of TV, and the (near) demise of print
Jean Twenge, Gabrielle Martin & Brian Spitzberg
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming


Studies have produced conflicting results about whether digital media (the Internet, texting, social media, and gaming) displace or complement use of older legacy media (print media such as books, magazines, and newspapers; TV; and movies). Here, we examine generational/time period trends in media use in nationally representative samples of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in the United States, 1976–2016 (N = 1,021,209; 51% female). Digital media use has increased considerably, with the average 12th grader in 2016 spending more than twice as much time online as in 2006, and with time online, texting, and on social media totaling to about 6 hr a day by 2016. Whereas only half of 12th graders visited social media sites almost every day in 2008, 82% did by 2016. At the same time, iGen adolescents in the 2010s spent significantly less time on print media, TV, or movies compared with adolescents in previous decades. The percentage of 12th graders who read a book or a magazine every day declined from 60% in the late 1970s to 16% by 2016, and 8th graders spent almost an hour less time watching TV in 2016 compared with the early 1990s. Trends were fairly uniform across gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The rapid adoption of digital media since the 2000s has displaced the consumption of legacy media.

Getting better all the time: Trends in risk behavior among American adolescents since 1990
Jeffrey Arnett
Archives of Scientific Psychology, 2018, Pages 87-95


Contrary to the negative narrative in psychology and in the American public, many trends in the risk behaviors of American adolescents have been positive in recent decades. Evidence is presented for positive trends in four areas: substance use, unprotected sex, crime, and hazardous automobile driving. A comparison of American adolescents to older Americans and to adolescents in other developed countries indicates that the pattern of positive trends is distinct to young Americans and does not apply consistently across age groups and countries. Three explanations for the positive trends are considered: the effects of public policies, closer parent–child relationships, and the social consequences of electronic media use. The most promising hypothesis is that a rise in electronic media use led to a decline in unstructured socializing, which led in turn to lower risk behavior.

Parent-Child Interactions and Child Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Intervention
Jun Hyung Kim et al.
Labour Economics, October 2018, Pages 152-171


Parent-child interactions are determined endogenously by child behavior, making identification of causal effects challenging. We overcome this endogeneity by analyzing a randomized, universal parent-training intervention on parents of preschool children. Evaluation of adolescent outcomes 10 years after the program suggests improvements to externalizing behaviors and wellbeing of children in the intervention group, mediated by changes to parenting during early childhood. These outcomes are not explained adequately by extant models of parent-child interactions, and so we explore alternative explanations. We show that benefits of early childhood interventions extend beyond low-socioeconomic households.

Reproduction predicts shorter telomeres and epigenetic age acceleration among young adult women
Calen Ryan et al.
Scientific Reports, July 2018


Evolutionary theory predicts that reproduction entails costs that detract from somatic maintenance, accelerating biological aging. Despite support from studies in human and non-human animals, mechanisms linking ‘costs of reproduction’ (CoR) to aging are poorly understood. Human pregnancy is characterized by major alterations in metabolic regulation, oxidative stress, and immune cell proliferation. We hypothesized that these adaptations could accelerate blood-derived cellular aging. To test this hypothesis, we examined gravidity in relation to telomere length (TL, n = 821) and DNA-methylation age (DNAmAge, n = 397) in a cohort of young (20–22 year-old) Filipino women. Age-corrected TL and accelerated DNAmAge both predict age-related morbidity and mortality, and provide markers of mitotic and non-mitotic cellular aging, respectively. Consistent with theoretical predictions, TL decreased (p = 0.031) and DNAmAge increased (p = 0.007) with gravidity, a relationship that was not contingent upon resource availability. Neither biomarker was associated with subsequent fertility (both p > 0.3), broadly consistent with a causal effect of gravidity on cellular aging. Our findings provide evidence that reproduction in women carries costs in the form of accelerated aging through two independent cellular pathways.

The effect on teenage childbearing on social capital development: New evidence on civic engagement
Joseph Sabia et al.
Review of Economics of the Household, September 2018, Pages 629–659


Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), we examine the relationship between teenage childbearing and four measures of adult civic engagement: charitable giving, volunteerism, political awareness, and voting. After accounting for selection on observables via propensity score matching and selection on unobservables via family fixed effects and instrumental variables approaches, we find that teen motherhood is negatively related to adult civic engagement. Descriptive evidence suggests that teen birth-induced reductions in educational attainment and the time-intensive nature of childcare are important mechanisms. Finally, we find that while the adverse civic engagement effects of teen parenthood may extend to teen fathers, the effects are much smaller in magnitude.

Father absence, age at menarche, and sexual behaviors in women: Evaluating the genetic confounding hypothesis using the androgen receptor gene
Gabriel Schlomer et al.
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming


Life history theory posits father absence and associated stressors are key for regulating the development of reproductive phenotypes. The causal status of father absence has been questioned, however, because genetic confounding can account for this association. The purpose of the current study was to replicate and extend prior work that evaluated the androgen receptor gene’s (AR) contribution to the interrelations between father absence and daughters’ age at menarche (AAM) and sexual behaviors by evaluating the GGC, as well as the better characterized CAG polymorphisms. Using structural models on a sample of 269 Caucasian women, we found no evidence to support the genetic confounding hypothesis, though a main effect of CAG variation on earlier AAM was detected independent of father absence. In addition, we tested the hypothesis that associations between father absence and daughter’s sexual behaviors would be mediated by AAM and that indirect effects of father absence would be conditioned by AR variation. Results showed AR variation moderated the association between father absence and AAM and the indirect effects of father absence on daughter’s sexual behaviors, most strongly by the CAG repeat. Implications of these results are discussed in terms of genetic contributions to life history phenotypes and importance of examining gene–environment transactions.

The Impact of Women's Health Clinic Closures on Fertility
Yao Lu & David Slusky
American Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming


In recent years, the government of Texas has enacted multiple restrictions and funding limitations on women's health organizations affiliated with the provision of abortion services. These policies have caused numerous clinic closures throughout the state, drastically reducing access to reproductive health care. We study the impact of these clinic closures on fertility rates by combining quarterly snapshots of health center addresses from a network of women's health centers with restricted geotagged data of all Texas birth certificates for 2008-2013. We calculate the driving distance to the nearest clinic for each ZIP-code and quarter, and find that an increase of 100 miles to the nearest clinic results in a 1.2 percent increase in the fertility rate. This increase is driven by a 2.4 percent increase in the fertility rate for unmarried women, while there is no statistically significant change for married women.

Comparison of Health, Development, Maternal Bonding, and Poverty Among Children Born After Denial of Abortion vs After Pregnancies Subsequent to an Abortion
Diana Greene Foster et al.
JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Design, Setting, and Participants: A 5-year longitudinal observational study with a quasi-experimental design conducted between January 18, 2008, and January 25, 2016, examined women who received abortions just under the gestational age limit of 30 abortion facilities across the United States and women who were denied abortion just beyond the gestational age limit in these facilities. Analyses compared the children of 146 women who were denied an abortion (index children) with children born to 182 women who received an abortion and had a subsequent child within 5 years (subsequent children). Interview-to-interview retention averaged 94.5% (6895 of 7293) across the 11 semi-annual interviews.

Results: This study included 328 women who had children during the study period (mean [SD] age at study recruitment, 23.7 [4.9] years). There were no differences by study group in consent to participate in the study, completion of first interview, or continuation in the study. Among the 328 children in the study (146 index children and 182 subsequent children), there were 163 girls and 165 boys. Perinatal and child health outcomes were not different between subsequent and index children, and there was no clear pattern of delayed child development. However, mixed-effects models adjusting for clustered recruitment and multiple observations per child revealed that poor maternal bonding was more common for index children compared with subsequent children (9% vs 3%; adjusted odds ratio, 5.14; 95% CI, 1.48-17.85). Index children lived in households with lower incomes relative to the federal poverty level than did subsequent children (101% vs 132% of federal poverty level; adjusted regression coefficient, –0.31; 95% CI, –0.52 to –0.10), and were more likely to live in households without enough money to pay for basic living expenses (72% vs 55%; adjusted odds ratio, 5.16; 95% CI, 2.34-11.40).

Desire for Sterilization Reversal Among U.S. Females: Increasing Inequalities by Educational Level
Mieke Eeckhaut, Megan Sweeney & Lei Feng
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, forthcoming

Methods: Data from 4,147 women who reported being sterile from a tubal sterilization in the 1995, 2002 and 2006–2010 waves of the National Survey of Family Growth were analyzed using chi‐square and Wald tests and binary logistic regression analyses. Predicted probabilities were calculated to determine the likelihood of desire for procedure reversal by wave and educational level.

Results: The prevalence of desire for sterilization reversal rose by 41%, from 18% in 1995 to 23% in 2002 and 25% in 2006–2010. Overall, women with a bachelor's degree were less likely than those who had not finished high school to desire a reversal (odds ratio, 0.2), and this educational differential was larger in 2006–2010 than in earlier waves. Predicted probabilities indicate that 9% of sterilized women with less than a high school education and 8% of those with a bachelor's degree expressed a desire for procedure reversal in 1995, as did 15% and 3%, respectively, in 2006–2010.

An Individual Growth Model Analysis of Childhood Spanking on Change in Externalizing Behaviors During Adolescence: A Comparison of Whites and African Americans Over a 12-Year Period
Chris Gibson & Abigail Fagan
American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming


This study examines the long-term effect of corporal punishment on children’s externalizing behaviors, and race differences in this relationship, using 12 years of prospective data from 1,075 high-risk White and African American families participating in the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect. According to multilevel individual growth models, there was a significant, positive association between spanking during childhood (measured at ages 4, 6, and 8 years) and initial levels (at age 12 years) of externalizing behaviors for the full sample and for African Americans. The fixed effect of spanking on rates of change of externalizing behaviors during adolescence (i.e., at ages 12, 14, and 16 years) was significant for the full sample and marginally (p < .10) significant for African Americans, with more spanking resulting in a slower rate of decrease in externalizing behaviors. Spanking was not related to initial levels or rates of change in externalizing behaviors for White youth.

Responding to nature: Natural environments improve parent-child communication
Thea Cameron-Faulkner, Joanna Melville & Merideth Gattis
Journal of Environmental Psychology, October 2018, Pages 9-15


Numerous studies have demonstrated that natural environments have a profound effect on a range of human behaviours and states, but most of those studies have examined how natural environments affect individuals rather than interactions. We examined whether natural environments affect communication between parents and their 3- to 4-year-old children. Using a novel experimental design, we show that parent-child communication is more responsive and connected in a natural environment compared to an indoor environment. This study is the first to demonstrate that human communication is influenced by natural environments. Natural settings may constitute optimal environments for communication.

Filtering Films: An Empirical Study of What Consumers Would Mute and Excise from Hollywood Fare if Only They Could
Douglas Lichtman & Benjamin Nyblade
University of California Working Paper, August 2018


In 2016, the technology startup VidAngel offered a movie streaming service that empowered users to mute potentially offensive audio and cut potentially offensive video from Hollywood films. Copyright litigation forced VidAngel’s service offline in December of that year. But, in the preceding eleven-and-a-half months, VidAngel managed to transmit roughly four million filtered streams and, for each of them, to record not only which filters were applied, but also how many minutes of the resulting film each user then watched. In this Article, we use the VidAngel data to study the market for filtered motion picture content. Among our findings are that video filters are primarily used to filter scenes involving intimacy, rather than those related to violence; and that, while the most common filtered audio is the word “f*ck,” users are even more likely to mute the words “Christ” and “dink.” Overall, even the most cautious viewers use filters as scalpels, not sledgehammers, muting and excising only a tiny fraction of a film’s content. And, perhaps most surprisingly, despite the imperfections inevitably introduced by unscripted interruptions in a movie’s audio and video presentation, users who watch filtered films turn out to enjoy them to roughly the same degree as do users who watch the corresponding unedited originals.

Conservative parenting: Investigating the relationships between parenthood, moral judgment, and social conservatism
Nicholas Kerry & Damian Murray
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2018, Pages 88-96


Strategic perspectives on moral and political attitudes suggest that people often tailor such attitudes to serve the current or future needs of themselves and their families. Given the critical importance of parenting in human life, we were interested in whether parenthood was associated with individual differences in political and moral attitudes, and whether parenthood and parenting motivation might partly explain age differences in these attitudes. Given that a key element of social conservatism is vigilance towards uncertainty and threat and, given that parenting is often associated with risk aversion, we predicted that parents (and those high in parenting motivation) would be more morally vigilant and more socially conservative. Across four studies including over 1500 participants, both objective parenthood and subjective parenting motivation independently predicted both outcomes. Further analyses revealed that both parenthood and parenting motivation mediated the relationships between age and both social conservatism and moral vigilance.


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