Within the evolutionary life history (LH) framework, aggression and risk-taking are adaptive implementations of a fast LH strategy to adapt to environmental unsafety and unpredictability. Based on a longitudinal sample of 198 Chinese adolescents living in rural areas, half of whom were separated from their parents, this study tested LH hypotheses about aggression and risk-taking in relation to safety constraints in the childhood living environments. The results showed that proxies of environmental unpredictability, including parental separation, were positively associated with aggression and risk-taking and negatively associated with slow LH strategy, which in turn was negatively associated with aggression and risk-taking. Children separated from their parents scored lower on slow LH strategies and higher on aggression and risk-taking. These findings support the evolutionary assumption that human development responds to safety cues through behavioral implementations of LH strategies.
- child and adolescent development
- environmental unpredictability
- fast and slow life history strategies
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience