Current evolutionary adaptiveness of anxiety: Extreme phenotypes of anxiety predict increased fertility across multiple generations

Nicholas C. Jacobson, Michael J. Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Although recent research has begun to examine the impact of elevated anxiety on evolutionary fitness, no prior research has examined anxiety across a continuum. Such research is important as the effect of traits across a continuum on fertility hold important implications for the levels and distribution of the traits in later generations. Method: In a three-generational sample (N = 2657) the linear and quadratic relationship between anxiety and the number of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren 15 years later was examined. Results: The findings suggested that anxiety had a positive quadratic relationship with the number of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren 15 years later. These relationships were not significantly moderated by sex. Moreover, most of the variance between anxiety and the number of great-grandchildren was explained by anxiety's influence on the number of children and grandchildren, as opposed to anxiety having an independent direct impact on the number of great-grandchildren. Conclusion: These findings suggest that extreme values from the mean anxiety are associated with increased evolutionary fitness within the modern environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume106
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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