Do Daughters Cause Divorce?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Sunday, August 10, 2014.

Knowing your baby’s sex can tell you a lot of things: like what color to paint the baby’s room, what baby gifts to get and . . . whether your marriage will end up in divorce court?

Studies have reported that marriages in which the firstborn are daughters are more likely to divorce than those producing firstborn sons. Researchers have observed a correlation between couples with daughters and their likelihood of divorce, which tends to be higher than for couples with sons.

Explanations abound: When adult sons live at home, they add to their parents’ workload. But when adult daughters live at home, they decrease the daily workload. Wives with daughters are less likely to stay with their husbands because with a girl, they’ll never be lonely or without help; and are less willing to tolerate bad husbands.

New research is showing the association between divorce rates and daughters might have more to do with what happens before birth. Female embryos tend to be hardier than male embryos, so girls may be surviving stressful relationships that boys can’t survive.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), research has found that conflicts in relationships predict the sex of children born after the conflict and also predicts subsequent divorce.

Researchers are taking pains to point out that their study indicates the need for a change in how research is conducted. Typically, studies about divorce start after birth. This new research is showing that other factors come into play before a child is born.

It seems pretty basic that couples with children face big conflicts that have nothing to do with parenting. But this new research is showing these conflicts exist and cause tension in relationships before kids are even born.

You can read more about the study here.