The Value of Using an Evolutionary Framework for Gauging Children’s Well-Being

Humans, like all mammals, require extensive nurturing after birth in order to facilitate essential psychobiological attachment and other developmental processes. Animal, human psychological, psychiatric, neurobiological, and anthropological research provides converging evidence for the importance and quality of early life conditions for optimal brain and body system development, approximating that which may have transpired in our “environment of evolutionary adaptedness ” (EEA). Despite the growing evidence for the negative effects on development of childrearing practices that are inconsistent with those of the EEA, scientific research, theory, and policy recommendations do not yet reflect the emerging findings. This chapter reviews evidence for the importance of presumptive EEA-consistent sociopsychological childrearing, along dimensions that remain relevant today, on developmental outcomes. © Oxford University Press 2013. All rights reserved.

Humans, like all mammals, require extensive nurturing after birth in order to facilitate essential psychobiological attachment and other developmental processes. Animal, human psychological, psychiatric, neurobiological, and anthropological research provides converging evidence for the importance and quality of early life conditions for optimal brain and body system development, approximating that which may have transpired in our “environment of evolutionary adaptedness ” (EEA). Despite the growing evidence for the negative effects on development of childrearing practices that are inconsistent with those of the EEA, scientific research, theory, and policy recommendations do not yet reflect the emerging findings. This chapter reviews evidence for the importance of presumptive EEA-consistent sociopsychological childrearing, along dimensions that remain relevant today, on developmental outcomes. © Oxford University Press 2013. All rights reserved.

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