Pathogen stress and living organization: A cross-cultural analysis

The Human Voyage: Undergraduate Research in Biological Anthropology Vol/Iss. 2 ANU Press Published In Pages: 1-8
By Tinston, Jennifer


The present study examines the relationship between pathogen prevalence and the domestic living-organization of 186 societies from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS). The measurement for pathogen stress consists of ten diseases described by Low (1991) and Caden and Steele (2013). These are dengue, typhus, plague, filariae, schistosomes, leishmanias, trypanosomes, malaria, leprosy, and spirochetes; the transmission for these diseases was contagious and/or mobile. The measurement for the living organization came from the 'Household Form' variable by Murdock and White (1969). The seven categories of household form variable were then re-coded into two variables. The first is modular, which includes single-family and family homestead. The second is communal and includes large communal structure, multifamily household, husband rotates, individuals, married, and husband separate. The findings offer support for the evolutionary hypothesis that modular living is adaptive because it may reduce pathogen stress. Specifically, pathogen stress is influential in the way people live.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:noah.rossen milagro.escobar anj.droe