The Cinderella Effect

Are step-parents more likely to abuse and kill you?

Well according to evolutionary psychologist it seems this is so. Its explained using ‘the Cinderella effect’. Basically what they think is as parents wants to pass on their genes so they are more likely to care for their biological children more than they are to their non-biological children (step children). So in effect what they are trying to say is that step parents are more likely to abuse children that are not biologically theirs. Clearly this seems to me like a ridiculous conclusion. Yeah it has evolutionary logic behind it, but I think humans have minds that are more sophisticated than that..

This theory has been falsified by Temrin, Nordlund, Rying and Tullberg (1965-2009)who looked at data from Sweden on violence. Their results showed 27 homicides committed in step families, 13 stepchildren were killed, 13 biological children, and 1 case of both. This shows that mistreatment of children is not more likely in a family who are all biologically connected, but can happen in any type of family. Even so the research done may not be a clear representation of the general population as the data used was only extracted from Sweden, and also they only looked at homicide as part of their numbers. Not any other kind of abuse. The research lacks reliability and so needs to be replicated to ensure the findings are true in all situations and places.

More research needs to be conducted in this area though I personally think this theory is not correct because there are many cases of people looking after step children and treating them the same. As well as this there is the fact that people adopt children and raise them well alongside their own biological children. This shows that people are not just hugery to pass on their genes as they have care for others aswell.


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