I’ve been wondering about this for quite a while now.
I really haven’t studied any psychology, but this makes sense to me.
Evolution has shaped Human beings to begin reproduction at 13-15ish age. Western Society dictates that we shouldn’t begin until we’re 20ish. Now most women have some sort of urge to have children as they grow older. I wonder what the effect is on men? Depression certainly leaps to mind. As well as some other rather vulgar/hideous acts. Has a study ever been done on the coorelation between depression and men whom don’t mate as they age?
It certainly would explain quite a bit of teenage anst eh?
Evolution shaped us to begin reproducing so young way back when 30 was old! Mother nature (or God) wanted us to be around to raise our kids. This is no longer applicable. If evolution didn’t want us having babies into our 30s and sometimes even 40s, we (women) would have been designed to hit menopause at 25 or so. Clearly, this isn’t the case.
Just a century ago the average age of the onset of menstruation in the US was 14, and many girls did not begin until they were several years older than that. In the more distant past, adolescents seem to have hit reproductive age even later. The causes of the drop in the age of the onset of puberty are still not fully understood, but they seem to be environmental rather than evolutionary.
30 has never been old as long as we’ve had agriculture. Life expectancies were low back then because of high infant mortality rates, but if you made it past your first year, 70 or 80 wasn’t ridiculously uncommon.
When it comes to the health of the mother and child, the ideal age for childbearing has never been younger than the early 20s. The final widening of the hips does not occur in women until that age, nor is the skeleton finished developing.
As for your question about depression, we used to have a poster around here who repeatedly claimed that huge numbers of men commit suicide due to depression caused by their inability to get laid. He had no evidence to support this claim. He was also crazy. I am unaware of any reputable psychological source that claims a lack of nookie in adolescence leads to depression, although it may well lead to wrist problems and the need to buy Kleenex in bulk.
Just my non-professional opinion… but I’ve always thought that there was a likelihood that teenage neurosis (which seems to be so widespread) could be due at least in part to the social extension of childhood way beyond the biological age of adulthood. I don’t just mean the “not getting laid” thing, I mean totally being dependent on the parents and not able to exert their personality. So I’d be interested if an evolutionary psychologist could chime in on this…
There sure are plenty of theories as to why girls are hitting puberty at younger ages, and most of them claim it’s dietary.
Such as this article which claims “More Fiber, Later Periods.” Taking into account that earlier diets contained a lot more plant materials, it seems to make sense.
Many researchers blame the high content of fat in our diets, pointing out that when a woman is starving herself of fats, such as in those women who are anorexic or have highly athletic lifestyles, periods can cease altogether. Girls who have diets high in fat tend to menstruate earlier. It’s been argued that the body senses that the girl is well-fed and can support the nourishment of a fetus, so it devotes resources into preparing the girl for pregnancy.
(Link below. It’s the last one.)
Some people who oppose bovine growth hormones claim that early onset of mentuation and a host of other ailments are a result of them. This article says:
This organization claims that chemicals in fire retardants are to blame.
Yes, you are right. But I was referring to the human female trait of wanting to have children. Stabalizing selection has selected for a brain chemistry which gives women the urge to have children a few years post-puberty. Usually in the 20’s i’d suppose.
Yes, yes! this is exactly what I was trying to get at. Any psychologists out there?
I’m the first man in five generations in my family to not have children until I was 30. The rest were fathers before they were 20 (at most). I’m the first one in generations not to be divorced, not to live in a bottle, etc. by 35. Mental health is as much a social matter as it is individual. At 30 I was far better prepared for the stress of fatherhood added on to the demands of “making a living” in our present society than I was at 20 or younger.