Medindia
Advertisement

Daughters Really Responsible for Divorce Among Couples?

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on July 16, 2014 at 8:58 PM
Font : A-A+

 Daughters Really Responsible for Divorce Among Couples?

Couples with daughters are somewhat more likely to divorce than couples with sons in the US. Many scholars have read those numbers as evidence that daughters cause divorce.

But new research from Duke University suggests something quite different may be at play: Girls may be hardier than boys, even in the womb, and may be better able to survive pregnancies stressed by a troubled marriage.

Advertisement

Previous studies have argued that fathers prefer boys and are more likely to stay in marriages that produce sons. Conversely, the argument runs, men are more likely to leave a marriage that produces daughters. That scholarly claim has been around for decades, and has gained a following in popular culture.

"Many have suggested that girls have a negative effect on the stability of their parents' union," said Duke economist Amar Hamoudi, who co-authored the new study with Jenna Nobles, a University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist. "We are saying: 'Not so fast.' "
Advertisement

Their study appears online July 15 in the journal Demography.

Hamoudi, who teaches in Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy and is a fellow of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, points to a very different potential explanation for differing divorce rates: the robustness of female embryos.

Throughout the life course, girls and women are generally hardier than boys and men. At every age from birth to age 100, boys and men die in greater proportions than girls and women. Epidemiological evidence also suggests that the female survival advantage actually begins in utero. These more robust female embryos may be better able to withstand stresses to pregnancy, the new paper argues, including stresses caused by relationship conflict.

Based on an analysis of longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. residents from 1979 to 2010, Hamoudi and Nobles say a couple's level of relationship conflict predicts their likelihood of subsequent divorce.

Strikingly, the authors also found that a couple's level of relationship conflict at a given time also predicted the sex of children born to that couple at later points in time. Women who reported higher levels of marital conflict were more likely in subsequent years to give birth to girls, rather than boys.

"Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can't survive," Hamoudi said. "Thus girls are more likely than boys to be born into marriages that were already strained."Hamoudi and Nobles also make a broader point that reaches beyond the issue of divorce. Population studies typically begin at birth, Hamoudi said. Yet if demographers and other social scientists want to fully understand how family dynamics affect populations, they need to consider the months before birth as well.

"It's time for population studies to shine a light on the period of pregnancy," Hamoudi said. "The clock does not start at birth."



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Gonorrhea
World Alzheimer's Day 2021 - 'Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer's
'Hybrid Immunity' may Help Elude COVID-19 Pandemic
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
How to Save your marriage Divorce: Pros and Cons How to Handle Depression and Stress while Going Through a Divorce? 

Recommended Reading
Plastic and Pregnancy: Makes Daughters Aggressive and Hyperactive
Expectant mothers exposed to chemical BPA, commonly found in plastics, are likely to have daughters ...
Divorce: Pros and Cons
Divorce can be traumatic for children and create a sense of insecurity amongst them. Couples should ...
How to Handle Depression and Stress while Going Through a Divorce?
Divorce or breakup can be stressful and cause anxiety, depression and panic. Simple ways can help yo...
How to Save your marriage
You can save your marriage - even when your partner insists on a divorce....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use