Do Daughters Lead to Divorce? Not Exactly, Says Duke University Study

Do Daughters Lead to Divorce?

For years statistics have pointed to an interesting fact about divorce in the United States; Parents with daughters are more likely to divorce. Many have theorized about the reasoning behind this, but no one has been able to definitively explain this correlation. Duke University researchers now think they have the answer.

In a study released July 15, 2014, Duke University researchers point to biological factors as the cause behind this pattern of parents of daughters divorcing at a higher rate. The researchers found that female embryos are stronger in the womb than male embryos, and therefore are more likely to survive when a mother is stressed. The researchers suggest that whereas a male embryo may not be able to fully develop when a mother is exposed to stress from an unhealthy relationship, a female embryo might be able to. Theoretically, this would mean that more girls could be born into marriages that might already have issues.

The study acknowledges that the findings are probably too small to fully explain the discrepancy. “In a given study period, about 2 percent of couples with first-born sons will divorce, and 2.1 percent of couples with first-born females will divorce.”

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