Bringing life history theory into relationship science

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this article, I review three longitudinal studies that have investigated how exposure to more versus less predictable environments shunt individuals down different developmental pathways. After describing key principles of life history theory and how stress can shape social development over time, I discuss an interrelated set of findings from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation. Collectively, these studies reveal the pathways through which exposure to more unpredictable, chaotic early-life environments prospectively forecast engaging in riskier behaviors and shorter-term, more opportunistic, and less investing orientations to mating and parenting in one or both genders. I conclude by discussing the broader goals underlying this program of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-20
Number of pages17
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 IARR


  • attachment
  • caregiving
  • life history theory
  • risky behavior
  • stress


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