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New Study Says Daughters Do Not Cause Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

daughters divorce IllinoisPast studies have suggested that couples who have daughters are more likely to divorce than couples who have sons. In many research circles, the belief was held that the daughters were actually causing the divorces because fathers preferred sons over daughters and therefore the husbands did not want to stay married to women who did not produce sons. This thought was only confirmed for those researchers when the results of a study from 2003 were published with the following data:

  • Parents who have a daughter are five percent more likely to divorce than parents who have a son.
  • Parents who have three daughters are ten percent more likely to divorce than parents who have three sons.
  • Unmarried couples who are expecting a child are more likely to get married if the child is a boy.

Other researchers who disagreed with the theory that fathers were leaving marriages because of daughters pointed out that in 73 percent of marriage breakups, the wife initiates the divorce, not the husbands.

However, a new study from Duke University just may have discovered the answer to why the divorce numbers are higher for marriages with daughters. According to the study, the correlation between daughters and marriages may actually be occurring before the child is even born and is the result of female embryos being stronger and hardier than male embryos.

The study’s researchers suggest that because the female embryos are stronger, they are more likely to survive the stressful pregnancy of a marriage that is already in trouble, whereas male embryos do not have that same "embryonic vigor" and therefore do not survive.

The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), taken during 1979 to 2010. They found that the level of conflict between couples was a predictor in future divorce. They also found that same level of conflict to be a predictor of the gender of children the couple had later on. Women who reported marital conflict gave birth to daughters instead of sons.

The study team suggests that future relationship and population research should not begin only at birth, but instead look back at factors in play before birth, as well.

If you are considering a divorce and are looking for an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney, contact A. Traub and Associates for a consultation today.


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