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Timing, Initiators, and Causes of Divorce in a Mayangna/Miskito Community in Nicaragua

Jeffrey Winking () and Jeremy Koster ()
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Jeffrey Winking: Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA
Jeremy Koster: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Pl. 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

Social Sciences, 2021, vol. 10, issue 6, 1-21

Abstract: There exists a paucity of evolution-oriented research focusing on why relationships end, particularly in comparison to the substantial literature centered around individual preferences that define the beginning of relationships. In contrast, there is a long tradition in the fields of sociology and family studies of exploring divorce; however, this body of research is largely limited to studies of Western populations. We address these gaps in the literature with an examination of patterns of divorce among a small-scale horticultural population in Nicaragua. We test a number of hypotheses derived from behavioral ecology perspective regarding the timing and causes of divorce. Results lend support to all but one of the hypotheses. Overall divorce rates are comparable to U.S. rates; however, they tend to occur earlier in marriages. Children appear to provide a slight buffering effect against divorce, although age in marriage does not. Gender differences in the reported causes of divorce fall along the lines that would be expected due to differences in partner preferences reported in previous research. Finally, this population also exhibits a similar peculiar pattern exhibited by Western populations, in which divorce is more costly for women, and yet women are slightly more likely to initiate divorces than husbands.

Keywords: divorce; marriage; small-scale; behavioral ecology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A B N P Y80 Z00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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