Explaining male initiation ceremonies: new cross-cultural tests and a catalytic model

Cross-Cultural Research Vol/Iss. 41 Published In Pages: 605-616
By Ember, Carol R., Ember, Melvin


Exclusive mother-infant sleeping and a long postpartum sex taboo are positively associated with male initiation.


separately the predictors are also significant


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Phi CoefficientSupportedp<.0025phi=.53One-tailed


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Male InitiationDependentPuberty And Initiation
Mother-infant Sleeping, ExclusiveIndependent CombinedInfant Care
Postpartum Sex Taboo, Length OfIndependent CombinedPostnatal Care

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Whiting, John W.M.Exclusive mother-son sleeping and a post-partum sex taboo are positively associated with initiation ceremonies at puberty.
Ember, Carol R.Exclusive mother-child sleeping and a long postpartum sex taboo are positively associated with male initiation ceremonies in the presence of all of the following catalysts: nonmatrilocal societies, more-than-rare warfare, nonstate societies.
Young, Frank W."The two aspects of what may not be labeled 'absent-father family organization' have no empirical relation to initiation ceremonies when male solidarity is controlled" (386)
Paige, Jeffery M.Patrilocality, polygyny, postpartum taboo, and exclusive mother-child sleeping arrangements are positively associated with sex segregation practices (243).
Munroe, Robert L."The prediction . . . was that the couvade would be found in association with mother-infant sleeping arrangements, and/or matri-residence. . . . Relatively low male salience, as experienced by male children in societies characterized by a form of matri-residence [or] . . . in the presence of exclusive mother-infant sleeping arrangements . . . might lead to cross-sex identity and to a particular projective system outcome--the couvade" (40, 39)