Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Child Custody

  • T Joel WadeEmail author
  • Kelsey Salerno
  • James Moran
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2018-1

Divorce occurs in both industrialized and non-industrialized cultures (Anderson 2011). Following this dissolution, the decision of who receives custody may become an issue for parents and the state. In industrialized nations, women are much more likely to be granted full custody of children (Anderson 2011). For example, in the United States, one study found that the majority of single-parent households (84%) were headed by mothers (Grall 2007). In some non-industrialized nations, the same child custody pattern occurs as well. For example, in the Hadza, a hunter-gatherer tribe, divorce is common, and when it occurs, the majority of the children live with the mother (Marlowe 2010). However, data from across 45 societies found 17.8% and 20.0% of the time children resided with mothers and fathers, respectively. From this same sample, 53.3% of those who received custody of the children were granted custody based upon a variety of factors (Frayser 1985). Factors that may play a role in who...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Anderson, K. G. (2011). Stepparenting, divorce, and investment in children. In C. Salmon & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of evolutionary family psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bjorklund, D. F., & Shackelford, T. K. (1999). Differences in parental investment contribute to important differences between men and women. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8(3), 86–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100(2), 204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Frayser, S. G. (1985). Varieties of sexual experience. New Haven: New Relations Area.Google Scholar
  5. Geary, D. C. (2000). Evolution and proximate expression of human paternal investment. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 55–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Grall, T. (2007). Custodial mothers and fathers and their child support: 2005: Current population reports, US Census Bureau. P-60–234.Google Scholar
  7. Kochanska, G., Murray, K., Jacques, T. Y., Koenig, A. L., & Vandegeest, K. A. (1996). Inhibitory control in young children and its role in emerging internalization. Child Development, 67, 490–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Marlowe, F. (2010). The Hadza: Hunter-gatherers of Tanzania (Vol. Vol. 3). Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Trivers, R. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection, Sexual selection & the descent of man (pp. 136–179). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBucknell UniversityLewisburgUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Joseph A Camilleri
    • 1
  1. 1.Westfield State UniversityWestfieldUSA