Scientists Study the Link Between Daughters and Divorce

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Researchers are saying you’re more likely to divorce your spouse if you have a daughter first, versus a son. I’m thinking this has to be bunk information.

Couples who frequently argue are more likely to have a firstborn daughter, rather than a son!

… But I have one child, a daughter. And two years after her birth, I got divorced.

Is there truth in this theory? Scientists initially recognized the single fact “that marriages that produce firstborn daughters are also more likely to end in divorce than marriages that produce firstborn sons,” and some argued that was because “fathers relate to boys better, so they're more likely to stick around and work on a marriage if they have a son.”

For a while, that was all researchers could say. But now that they are delving further into their research, it seems that a “surprising developmental difference between male and female fetuses — something that occurs far ahead of a daughter's birth or her parents' divorce — may explain the disparity.” 

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Basically, women – females – handle stressful environments better than our macho male buddies. If our relationships are erratic and unstable, or especially volatile, male embryos won’t have as much survival success as female embryos.

Researchers Amar Hamoudi and Jenna Nobles came to this conclusion after studying data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth and creating “a predictive model of how likely a couple with a firstborn daughter would be to divorce.”

Do you know what they discovered?

“Nearly all of the links between daughters and divorce can be accounted for by stress-related dynamics during pregnancy.”

I’m shocked they didn’t also discover they were about three decades behind in their choice of data. Perhaps they should’ve realized this? I’m not a scientific researcher, but I might’ve felt a little more persuaded toward this theory if their data-based “predictive model” was a result of more current studies. I’ll stay polite and believe they didn't have access to that information. 

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Ladies, if you’re feeling abnormally stressed during your pregnancy, it sounds like you should get marriage counseling – ASAP! (Joke!) Before we make any life-altering decisions, I think it’s important that we all refrain from excessively fussing and fretting over these findings. Especially if your cute pregnancy bump contains a little girl. It sounds like they are still researching the possibilities. And they should continue this research for a long time, before they point the ultimate damning finger at sugar and spice, and everything nice.

What’s your opinion – Do you think firstborn daughters and divorce are somehow linked?

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What do you think?

Scientists Study the Link Between Daughters and Divorce

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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20 comments

  1. Victoria says:

    I agree with Katrina, I have my girl first and have been married for over 35 years to the man I met when I was 18.

  2. Katrina says:

    This is nothing more than absurd. There have been first born girls for centuries, yet the divorce rate in the UNITED STATES has started climbing within recent decades. It seems much more reasonable to look at how society and culture has evolved in the US than to look at first borns. The correlation is ridiculous and insulting. How about we just accept that we make bad decisions sometimes. We overlook flaws within our relationships for various reasons. Having a child is stressful in a healthy relationship, much less one that is already falling apart. The choices we make determine the outcome, not the sex of an unborn first child.

  3. LISA says:

    So called science also states that we (the human race) evolved from apes! (If that were trueeeeeeeeeee then whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy r there still apessssssssss around????? Why didn’t allllllllllllll the apes become human???????????? When Charles Darwin came up with this idea he was laughed at and asked “which side of your family did the apes come from???”-I read this in an old book from my college Canisius College in Buffalo NY! Google and I hope u can find this original book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why don’t u scientists do something positiveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and stopppppppppppppppppppp printing such “nonsense!!!!!” There is enough negativity in this world!!!!! Leave the “little girls alone who have enoughhhhhhhhhhhh problems in this world with trying to meet up w societys standards of beauty- thinness etc etc and develop low self esteem and eating disorders etc etc!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop this insanityyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. LISA says:

    I think this is horribleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee to even suggest such a thing and the picture of the girl in front feeling bad is a disgraceeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Like girls arleady don’t have enough to feel bad about u want to publish an article to give little girls moreeeeeeeeeee stress-that is what i think this article does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! U should removeeeeeeee this article-give little girls some peaceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    And for you ladies who say it worked the opposite or there is no link, this study was looking for a link, not a perfect record. So just because it didn’t work out in our situation, doesn’t mean that in the long run they did not find a relationship when looking at all cases back to back. That is the art of science, it is not about being right, it is about learning something.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    It has more to do with the survival of the fetus as this article states. More female fetuses survive during stressful times than males. Males are more likely to be miscarried when the mother is under extreme stress, whereas female fetuses will persevere and be born into those stressful situations. I think that it is not the link between daughters and divorce that needs to be studied necessarily, but the fact that daughters are more likely to survive and sons not during these relationships. Women who tend towards having baby boys tend to be in areas where there are ample resources and their spouse shares the workload. Whereas, higher areas of females born would be where the work of raising the family is completely onesided and higher rates of abuse exist. You can see this relationship in that African countries tend to have higher rate of female births to male births, even though male births are still higher to make up for their increased mortality rate, but it is between 101-103 boys to every 100 girls born, as compared to those in the US, where the ratio is 105 boys to every 100 girls. There are dramatically less males born in countries where there is increased heat and struggle for resources, and the stress that goes along with these circumstances, including lack of male participation, polygamy, and the sex equality gap. This can be transferred to US births in that when a relationship is in trouble a fetus that was male might not survive, but a female one, able to stand the higher stress will survive. The relationship may have been headed toward divorce to begin with, but the fact that the child survived depended on the sex of the fetus.

  7. violeta says:

    My first baby is girl end we divorce not because of my baby but because hes a usles @ss H…l

  8. Chantal says:

    It has more to do with how the parents handle the stressful situations. No matter how much stress, it is still a 50-50 chance of a girl being the first born. It is impossible to say that every time a girl is first born it ends in divorce.

  9. sarahcarter says:

    This is worthless information. You cannot link the two. The only thing this research does is make parents more paranoid. When we think less selfishly and choose to love our spouse in the hard and easy times as well as our children this will not happen. This is why parenting with Christ in the center of life is so crucial.

    • kathy says:

      So, what you are saying is an atheist couple are terrible parents? That sounds like logic to me! Not! My boyfriend and I have been together for 4+ years. We are raising two wonderful kids. I think we are doing wonderful without religion. I don’t care if we ever get married as long as we stay truthful to each other and be there for each other and the kids, weight even do better for our children than some married couples. B/c we exhibit a healthy relationship. That’s what’s good a child’s environment.

  10. Hannah says:

    So it sounds like what they are actually saying is that a baby boy in utero is more susceptible to miscarriage than a baby girl. So…as we already know, girls are stronger when it comes to emotions af distress! Maybe what their research should be focused on is the gender of babies miscarried and the environment of the home and/or stressors the mother is exposed to. If girls survive a stressful home better than boys, then mamas who are carrying boys need to be especially careful to minimize stress.

  11. azjen1 says:

    I have 6 brothers. The brothers with first born sons got divorced, 2 of them so far, the ones with first born daughters are still married, so this is BOGUS!!! So not a real factor at all..

  12. Danielle says:

    I don’t know…I am an only child, and obviously a girl! – and my parents did have a divorce. On the other hand, my aunt and uncle had a daughter first, had a couple of miscarriages, and then had a son and they are still happily married for more than 30 years….So my family would seem to support this theory.

    But I have several girl pals who are the oldest or only childs and their parents are still together so who knows?

    I suppose I’ll just add another reason to be glad my first child is a boy!

  13. kathy says:

    That’s not science! That’s statistics! Omg. The girl population is 51%. That would be like saying being Chinese is the cause you f divorce because they have the most population of ethnic groups. Those scientists need to go back to school. Or change their career from science to math.

  14. Scarlett says:

    On this line or research, the words “spurious” and “specious” come readily to mind.

  15. Jennifer says:

    I know several people that had only a single boy and are divorced. I know several people that had only a single girl and are living happily ever after. I think the key here is the dynamics between the parents.

  16. ovation says:

    I can personally debunk that. My parents had me, their daughter, first then my younger brother. They were married happily until my dad’s passing in 98. Or would you count my older brother who passed shortly after birth? So they also made it through losing their first baby.

  17. Sara says:

    My, now, ex-husband and I had two beautiful baby boys during our 4, nearly 5, year reign of marriage together. We still ended in divorce. It clearly doesn’t matter what the sex of your first child is to determine the outcome of your marriage. I’m now pregnant with my 3rd child, a girl, with my 2nd husband, so does this mean that my odds for divorce in this marriage are higher because this is our first born together?? Nah, I doubt it!

  18. Dani says:

    I feel it is a terribly unfortunate coincidence. I suppose there could be connection with parents who were pressured by expectation of a first-born son by either a partner or family. We were initially disappointed to be having a girl as our first child together, but it lasted maybe 5 minutes. We are thrilled to have a baby together no matter the sex. I’m not worried it’ll increase our chance for divorce.

  19. cassie says:

    My brother and his wife(now ex) got a divorce shortly after their daughter was born but my brother and niece are so close. Im not sure how everything relating to this article ties in. I personally believe people give up on relationships too early because they Both have areas of improvement they may not want to own up to. Perhaps the thought of having to deal with eachother and a new baby (and themselves if they realize that) is too overwhelming and its easier to part ways. But the variable of the child being a girl, has a greater impact in the outcome of their relationship is a mystery to me…??

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