From a life history perspective, individuals from higher-SES backgrounds should adopt a slower life history strategy, whereas individuals from lower-SES backgrounds should adopt a faster life history strategy. However, some researchers have found that lower-SES individuals behave more prosocially than higher-SES individuals. This finding is somewhat problematic for the popular view that faster life history strategists ought to behave more opportunistically than slower life history strategists. The goal of the current line of research was to resolve this paradox by identifying a moderator¬ (the cohesiveness of one’s social network) that might help to explain the prosocial interpersonal orientations observed among lower-SES individuals. Three studies were designed to test the notion that there are two ways faster life history strategists might interact with members of their social networks: (1) a dependent strategy among faster life history strategists who live in residentially stable environments that provide immediate, on-demand resources from members of narrower and deeper social networks, and (2) an opportunistic strategy among faster life history strategists who live in residentially unstable environments that allow them to maximize the resources they can extract from their environments in the absence of narrower and deeper social ties. Although the current studies provided very limited support for the hypothesis that faster life history strategists (lower-SES individuals) who possess more social network/residential stability would behave more prosocially than slower life history strategists (higher-SES individuals) or faster life history strategists who lack social network/residential stability, some of the current findings suggest that this hypothesis should not be abandoned out of hand.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.August 2016. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Jeffry Simpson. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 147 pages.
Keeping Your Friends Close: The Influence of Socioeconomic Status, Residential Stability, and Economic Uncertainty on Interpersonal Orientation.
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