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Morgan, S. Philip; Lye, Diane N.; & Condran, Gretchen A. (1988). Sons, Daughters, and the Risk of Marital Disruption. American Journal of Sociology, 94(1), 110-129.


The association between the sex of children and their parents' risk of marital disruption is examined using the June 1980 Current Population Survey. The finding is that sons reduce the risk of marital disruption by 9% more than do daughters. This difference holds across marriage cohorts, racial groups, and categories of mother's education. A compelling explanation for these findings, supported by data from the National Survey of Children, stresses a father's greater role in raising sons than daughters and his consequently greater involvement in the family. Children provide a new basis for marital cohesion, one that rests on attachments and obligations to children. For fathers, the obligations and attachments are greater if they have sons.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Sociology


Morgan, S. Philip
Lye, Diane N.
Condran, Gretchen A.