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Social and biological determinants of reproductive success in Swedish males and females born 1915-1929
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
2009 (English)In: Evolution and human behavior, ISSN 1090-5138, Vol. 30, no 5, 329-341 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studying biological and social determinants of mortality and fertility provides insight into selective pressures in a population and the possibility of trade-offs between short- and long-term reproductive success. Limited data is available from post-demographic transition populations. We studied determinants of reproductive success using multi-generational data from a large, population-based cohort of 13,666 individuals born in Sweden between 1915 and 1929. We studied the effects of birthweight for gestational age, preterm birth, birth multiplicity, birth order, mother's age, mother's marital status and family socioeconomic position (SEP) upon reproductive success, measured as total number of children and grandchildren. We further tested the hypothesis that number of grandchildren would peak at intermediate family size, as predicted by some life history explanations for fertility limitation. Reproductive success was associated with both social and biological characteristics at birth. In both sexes, a higher birthweight for gestational age, a term birth and a younger mother were independently associated with a greater number of descendants. A married mother and higher family SEP were also associated with a greater number of descendants in males (but not in females), while higher birth order was associated with a greater number of descendents in females (but not males). These effects were mediated by sex-specific effects upon the probability of marriage. Marriage was also affected by other early life characteristics including birthweight, indicating how ‘biological’ characteristics may operate via social pathways. Number of grandchildren increased with increasing number of children in both sexes, providing no evidence for a trade-off between quantity of offspring and their subsequent reproductive ‘quality’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 30, no 5, 329-341 p.
Keyword [en]
Reproductive success, Intergenerational effects, Mortality, Fertility, Social and biological determinants
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29203DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.03.007ISI: 000269185600004OAI: diva2:231564
Available from: 2009-08-14 Created: 2009-08-14 Last updated: 2012-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Koupil, Ilona
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Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS)
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