Sons, Daughters & Divorce

Aug 8, 2012 by

A recent article in Psychology Today suggests that married couples who have at least one son are at a much lower risk of experiencing a divorce than couples who have daughters only.  Researchers have discovered that having sons decreases the probability of divorce while those with a daughter are 5 percent more likely to get a divorce, and the chance of a divorce increases with each additional daughter a couple has.

The logic presented by Psychology Today is that the presence of a father in the home is more important for sons, and not as much for daughters. It is thought that having a son requires a father to become more involved in raising the child and more socially responsible for the son’s success. The son will inherit the family name, wealth, status, and power, but there is not much a father can do to increase a daughter’s existing youth and physical attractiveness. The situation created lowers the probability of divorce for those with sons since they are required to have more ongoing interaction with them.

The theory is based on the notion that a man’s status in society is mainly determined by wealth, and power, and that women’s status is determined by age and beauty. The premise is that the more the son inherits, the more he will succeed in life. However, there is not as much either parent can contribute with daughters, as they cannot make them younger or more physically attractive. In that light, it would appear that having sons does reduce the probability of divorce and is the main reason behind the statistical findings that parents of daughters get divorced more often than those with sons.

Although the percentages and averages are informative to a point, the observations leave many contributing factors out of the equation. There are many other marriage and family complications that could have been factored in, making the current hypothesis a generalization at best.


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