Although several investigations have addressed the nature of communication in men's relationships with their sons, relatively few have focused on positive interaction patterns, such as the exchange of affection, even though affection is of considerable importance to relational maintenance and satisfaction. According to affection exchange theory, affection is such a valuable relational resource because of the contributions it makes to humans’ long‐term viability and reproductive success. As such a resource, it should, thus, be governed by adaptive motivations, among which is the motivation for parents to invest in their children in ways that maximize their long‐term evolutionary success. Using the theory of discriminative parental solicitude, we predicted differences in the amount of affection men communicate to their biological sons, adopted sons, and step‐sons. We tested our predictions in two studies involving a total of 384 males. We discuss implications of the results for explaining the superordinate evolutionary motivations governing affectionate communication.
- Affection Exchange Theory
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