Having a daughter might raise a couple's risk of divorce, past census data has revealed.
Researchers found that couples with sons are more likely to stick together, unmarried pregnant couples are more likely to have shotgun weddings if the baby was going to be a boy and divorced mothers of boys are more likely to remarry and stay remarried.
AdvertisementHowever, psychologists say that this doesn't mean that daughters are matrimonially risky and sons are marriage saviors.
In the original 2003 research on the topic, economists Gordon Dahl, from the University of California-San Diego, and Enrico Moretti, at UC Berkeley, found that couples with a first-born girl were about 5 percent more likely to divorce than parents of a first-born boy. When there are as many as three daughters that difference spiked to 10 percent.
More recently, however, psychologists have debated whether daughters might make mothers more willing to leave a bad marriage because they provide social support that empowers their mom.
According to Susan Heitler, a Denver-based clinical psychologist, sticking with an unhappy marriage may seem less appealing if a woman feels she is teaching her daughter the wrong things about love and marriage, a concern she said divorced women have expressed in her practice.
"They think, it's hard to go through a divorce, but at the same time I don't want this to be a model of what marriage should be to my daughter," ABC News quoted her as saying.
She said that often there is a multigenerational pattern of abusive husbands these women are trying to break.