Motivated by the cooperative breeding hypothesis, we investigate the effect of having kin on the mortality of reproductive women based on family reconstitutions for the St. Lawrence Valley (1670-1799) and for the Krummhörn region (1720-1874). The environmental contexts differed substantially between these populations. We rely on a combination of Cox clustered hazard models and stratified at the family level. We separate behavior-related and structural effects by including information on kin's place of residence. We find major differences with regard to kin effects which we interpret as a reflection of the population-specific socio-economic context. However, in both populations mothers-in-law were associated with reduced mortality. This may be attributed to two mechanisms; consanguinity in the Krummhörn and exchange marriage in Canada. In sum, our findings do not support the assumption that a woman’s natal kin represented a source of unconditional support and that her in-law kin represented a source of unconditional competition.
Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions