NPR Article Features ‘Alloparenting’ Across Cultures


In an article for National Public Radio (NPR) titled Bringing up a baby can be a tough and lonely job. Here’s a solution: alloparents, Michaeleen Doucleff, PhD looks at the practice of alloparenting across cultures. Doucleff is a correspondent for NPR’s Science Desk reporting for the radio and the web for NPR’s global health outlet, Goats and Soda. Doucleff’s work focuses on parenting around the world.

The article draws on research from scholars at University College London and Cambridge University. Both of these academic institutions is a member of eHRAF World Cultures.

According to the NPR article, “Altogether the research across cultures suggests that human parents are psychologically adapted to raise children cooperatively, not in isolation. Yet in Western culture, many times the mother alone is expected – or even required – to provide this incredibly intensive parenting.” (Doucleff, 2023)

If you are interested in learning more about alloparenting across cultures, the eHRAF World Cultures database is a great place to start. Here are some suggestions for searching the database:


Try using these subjects in your search:


Try using these cultures in your search:


Try using ‘alloparent*’ in your search, but keep in mind that ethnographers may use other terms to describe this practice. The broader subjects ‘Infant Care’ and ‘Child Care’ are important to read for cases where the term ‘alloparent*’ does not appear or where parents do most of the childcare.

The asterisk is used for variant endings including:

  • alloparents
  • alloparental
  • alloparenting

The screenshot below shows a sample Advanced Search.

Advanced Search using Hadza, Ovambo Pumé, and Woleai Region as cultures with Childcare as the subject and "alloparent*" as the keyword

The screenshot below shows a search result for the Hazda.

Search result for Hazda


Doucleff, Michaeleen. 2023. “Bringing up a baby can be a tough and lonely job. Here’s a solution: alloparents.” National Public Radio:

Image Credits
Free images via Canva (Pro)
Child’s Hand Resting on Father’s Hand by skalekar1992 from pixabay
African mother by poco_bw from lucian coman’s Images