To illuminate which features of an unpredictable environment early in life best forecast adolescent and adult functioning, data from two longitudinal studies were examined. After decomposing a composite unpredictability construct found to predict later development, results of both studies revealed that paternal transitions predicted outcomes more consistently and strongly than did residential or occupational changes across the first 5 years of a child's life. These results derive from analyses of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, which included diverse families from 10 different sites in the United States, and from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation, whose participants came from one site, were disproportionately economically disadvantaged, and were enrolled 15 years earlier than the NICHD Study sample. The finding that results from both studies are consistent with evolutionary, life history thinking regarding the importance of males in children's lives makes this general, cross-study replication noteworthy.
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