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Journal Article

Girls or Boys? Relationship of Child Gender to Marital Instability

Aphra R. Katzev, Rebecca L. Warner and Alan C. Acock
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 56, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 89-100
DOI: 10.2307/352704
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352704
Page Count: 12
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Girls or Boys? Relationship of Child Gender to Marital Instability
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Abstract

Based on studies that report higher levels of paternal participation in family life when all children are boys, we predicted that mothers in families with only girls would perceive a greater likelihood of marital instability than mothers in families with only boys. Using data on 1,023 married women from the 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households, we found that mothers with at least one boy reported a significantly lower propensity to divorce compared to mothers with only girls. Fathers in families with boys were more engaged with their children, which was associated with mothers perceiving less disadvantage in the marital relationship and a lower likelihood of separation. Results are discussed in terms of the value society places on boys and the role fathers play in the socialization of children.

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