Tuesday, August 5, 2014
For years, researchers have observed a correlation between U.S. couples with daughters and their likelihood of divorce, which tends to be somewhat higher than for couples with sons. In both academic circles and in popular culture, this trend wasn’t simply considered a positive association, but a clear causal relationship: a notable portion of research held that daughters were actually the ones causing divorces, because fathers prefer boys and only want to stay married to women who give birth to them. But thanks to a new study on the roots of relationship conflict, this belief — which now seems not only reductive, but also blatantly sexist — might start to recede from view.
According to a study published in the journal Demography on Wednesday, the association between divorce rates and daughters might actually have less to do with what happens in a female child’s lifetime and more to do with what happens before birth. Researchers Amar Hamoudi and Jenna Nobles posit that because female embryos tend to be hardier than male embryos, daughters are more likely to come of relationships that are already in some sort of turmoil during pregnancy. Sons, on the contrary, would be less likely to be born into such relationships, because male embryos do not have the same robustness as their female counterparts.
Read more here.