Does Perceived Vulnerability to Disease Predict Life-History Strategy in Japanese Adults?

  • Ryo Oda Nagoya Institute of Technology
Keywords: life history theory perceived vulnerability to disease immune function health


Humans are a slow life-history strategy species compared to other animals. However, individual differences occur within species. Individuals develop in a flexible manner to choose the best life-history strategy in response to internal and external factors, such as the unpredictability of the environment. The burden of lifespan-limiting disease, over which one feels little control, could be a factor modulating life-history strategy. This study investigated the effects of perceived susceptibility to disease and germ aversion on individual differences in life-history strategy using a large sample of Japanese adults. The results indicate that the effects of perceived susceptibility to infection and germ aversion on life history strategy was much weaker than that of a harsh socio-economic environment, which did not support results of a previous study. This may have been caused by the special environment of contemporary medical care in Japan, wherein medical standards are very high and mortality rates are relatively low.
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