Attitudes Towards Cousin Marriages: Findings Among Young People from Mexico

A.P. Buunk*, K. Massar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present research examined how life history and resistance against interethnic mating were related to positive and negative attitudes towards cousin marriages among young people aged between 15 and 25 from a rural area in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The sample included three ethnic groups: Mestizos (people of mixed Spanish and indigenous descent, n=84), indigenous Mixtecs (n=83), and Afro-Mexicans (n=33). In general, respondents reported more negative than positive attitudes towards cousin marriage. Among the Mestizos, but not in the other ethnic groups, women reported more negative attitudes than men did. The main objections against marrying a cousin were that it might lead to family conflict and might result in genetic defects of one's offspring. The main positive aspect of cousin marriage that participants mentioned was that one would marry someone with the same values. The ethnic groups did not differ in their attitudes towards cousin marriages. A slower life history was related to a more negative (but not a less positive) attitude towards cousin marriages, whereas resistance against out-group mating was related to a more positive (but not a less negative) attitude towards cousin marriages. The implications of the results are discussed in the context of life history theory, the benefits of in-group marriage, and the potential positive and negative effects of cousin marriages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalEvolutionary Psychological Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • childhood
  • community
  • consanguineous marriage
  • cousin marriage
  • intergroup marriage
  • life history
  • life-history strategy
  • mexico
  • parasite-stress
  • parent-offspring conflict
  • personality
  • sexual coercion
  • Life history
  • Consanguineous marriage
  • Intergroup marriage
  • Cousin marriage
  • Mexico

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