Preference for sex of child: a research update

Individ Psychol. 1988 Dec;44(4):481-91.


PIP: This study was undertaken in order to determine if various cultural influences since the time of the 1970 Hammer study have significantly altered the view in our society today in regard to the disadvantage of the female role. The study involved asking 558 subjects to fill out a 1-page questionnaire that asked: 1) If you knew for sure that you could have only 1 child, would you prefer that child to be a boy or a girl? and 2) If it were possible for you to be reborn and you could have your choice, would you prefer to return as a male or as a female? Each question also asked for the respondent's reasons for responding as he or she did. In comparing the results of the 1970 study, what seems to be clear is that the perceived female role disadvantage appears to be significantly diminishing in our society, at least as far as most females are concerned. This is especially evident in unmarried college females, for whom there has been a rather dramatic change since 1970. In 1970, this group significantly preferred a male child, whereas in 1986 they significantly preferred a female child. The fact that these females significantly prefer to be reborn as a female rather than a male suggests that the perception by this group of the diminishing of the female role disadvantage is quite substantial. The results for the other groups are much less clear. The clear changes that have taken place since 1970 in regard to female role disadvantage lend more support to the Adlerian view over the Freudian view that such roles are more culturally than anatomically determined, and are therefore amenable to continuous change.

MeSH terms

  • Americas
  • Attitude*
  • Behavior
  • Demography
  • Developed Countries
  • Economics
  • Educational Status*
  • Gender Identity*
  • Marital Status*
  • Marriage
  • North America
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Psychology
  • Sex Factors*
  • Sex*
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Change*
  • Social Class
  • Social Values
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Women's Rights*