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ERIC Number: EJ934454
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 239
ISSN: ISSN-0033-295X
Parent-Offspring Conflict Theory: An Evolutionary Framework for Understanding Conflict within Human Families
Schlomer, Gabriel L.; Del Giudice, Marco; Ellis, Bruce J.
Psychological Review, v118 n3 p496-521 Jul 2011
Decades of research demonstrate that conflict shapes and permeates a broad range of family processes. In the current article, we argue that greater insight, integration of knowledge, and empirical achievement in the study of family conflict can be realized by utilizing a powerful theory from evolutionary biology that is barely known within psychology: parent-offspring conflict theory (POCT). In the current article, we articulate POCT for psychological scientists, extend its scope by connecting it to the broader framework of life history theory, and draw out its implications for understanding conflict within human families. We specifically apply POCT to 2 instances of early mother-offspring interaction (prenatal conflict and weaning conflict); discuss the effects of genetic relatedness on behavioral conflict between parents, children, and their siblings; review the emerging literature on parent-offspring conflict over the choice of mates and spouses; and examine parent-offspring conflict from the perspective of imprinted genes. This review demonstrates the utility of POCT, not only for explaining what is known about conflict within families but also for generating novel hypotheses, suggesting new lines of research, and moving us toward the "big picture" by integrating across biological and psychological domains of knowledge. (Contains 1 figure and 2 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A