Until recently, variations in life history strategy were studied exclusively at the species level. Although this domain of study has been extended to examine systematic differences in life history strategy among various human ethnic groupings, more recent evolutionary theories of human development and related behavioral genetic work imply substantial within-group individual variation in life history strategy. We constructed a latent variable model identifying a single common factor, denoted as K, which underlies a variety of otherwise disparate life history parameters. This “K-Factor” loaded 0.36 on childhood attachment to the biological father, −0.36 on childhood attachment to any non-biological father figure, 0.38 on adult romantic partner attachment, −0.51 on mating effort, −0.58 on Machiavellianism, and −0.41 on risk propensity. The bivariate correlations of the K-factor with higher-order personality factors were statistically significant, −0.24 with “Big Neuroticism” and −0.67 with “Big Psychoticism”, and approached significance, correlating 0.12, with “Big Extraversion”. The K-factor appears to be an underappreciated individual difference variable of major importance to human development.
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