Parent-offspring conflict over mating: The case of short-term mating strategies

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Individuals solve problems of reproduction by engaging in long-term and short-term mating. Short-term mating strategies have both costs and benefits, but their costs are higher for parents than they are for offspring. On this basis, three hypotheses are formulated: first, individuals consider short-term mating strategies more acceptable for themselves than for their offspring. Second, parents consider short-term mating strategies less acceptable for their daughters than for their sons. Finally, men consider short-term mating strategies more acceptable than women. To test these hypotheses a within-participants design is employed, whereby sexually mature individuals with children are asked to rate the acceptability of a set of short-term mating strategies for themselves and for their offspring. Evidence from a sample of 295 British parents provides support for all three hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-899
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Mating behaviour
  • Mating strategies
  • Parent-offspring conflict
  • Parent-offspring conflict over mating
  • Parental choice
  • Short-term mating


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