Nobes et al. (2019) used updated data from the same source – the British Home Office’s Homicide Index – as that used by Daly and Wilson (1994) to investigate the Cinderella effect (increased risk to stepchildren), and in particular their claim (e.g., Daly, 2022; Daly & Wilson, 1994, 2001, 2008) that stepfathers fatally assault their young children at rates more than 100 times those of genetic fathers. Nobes et al. reported much lower – though still substantial – increased risk to young stepchildren, and little or none to older children, particularly when they took the mislabeling of non-cohabiting perpetrators into account. In his Commentary, Daly (2022) largely accepts this analysis, but does not acknowledge its implications for his own findings and claims. Nobes et al. also reported that controlling for father’s age accounted for much of the remaining increased risk, and argued that this and other confounding variables are likely to explain most or all of the Cinderella effect. Daly says very little about this too, but instead responds with a series of criticisms, many of which misrepresent Nobes et al.’s account, and most of which are incorrect. Young stepchildren are at increased risk, but if stepparenthood per se (i.e., lack of genetic relatedness) contributes to the explanation, its influence is considerably less than Daly claims.
- child homicide
- Cinderella effect