Does Having a Daughter Make You Play It Safe?

Your daredevil days may be over if you have a daughter. A new study suggests that parents of baby girls are less likely to take risks.
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As a new parent, you're probably not about to go skydiving or run with the bulls. But apparently, that's especially the case if you're the parent of a daughter—at least, if you believe the results of a new study. Researchers interviewed new parents in UK hospitals pre- and post-birth to determine their attitudes toward risky behaviors. They discovered that parents of daughters were nearly twice as likely to be risk-averse as parents of sons, and that that cautious attitude continued for months after their children were born. 

There are a few interesting takeaways from the study, "Female Babies as a Determinant of Adult Risk-Aversion," presented at  the Society for Risk Analysis conference this week by researchers Ganna Pogrebna and Andrew Oswald of the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, and David Haig of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. One is that your attitude toward risk can change—though classic theories supported the idea that your risk-averse or risk-seeking attitude was a static part of your personality. Another? The researchers suggest that this information could be a factor in insurance policy decisions—perhaps even making insurance cheaper for parents of girls.

But I'd say that in general, becoming a parent makes you a bit more cautious, no matter whether you're having a boy or a girl. You want to make sure your baby's safe—and that you're around to see them grow up. 

Do you feel more cautious now that you're a parent?


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