2006–2010

Is There an Adverse Effect of Sons on Maternal Longevity?

Reprint No. 2009:39

Author(s): David Cesarini, Erik Lindqvist and Björn WallaceYear: 2009 Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Volume (No.): 276 (1664) Pages: 2081–2084
Online article (restrictions may apply)


Recent years have witnessed the emergence of a literature examining the effects of giving birth to sons on postmenopausal longevity in pre-industrial mothers. The original paper in this lineage used a sample (n=375) of Sami mothers from northern Finland and found that, relative to daughters, giving birth to sons substantially reduced maternal longevity. We examine this hypothesis using a similar and a much larger sample (n=930) of pre-industrial Sami women from northern Sweden, who in terms of their demographic, sociocultural and biological conditions, closely resemble the original study population. In contrast to the previously reported results for the Sami, we find no evidence of a negative effect of sons on maternal longevity. Thus, we provide the most compelling evidence to date that the leading result in the literature must be approached with scepticism.


Reference:
Cesarini, David, Erik Lindqvist and Björn Wallace (2009), "Is There an Adverse Effect of Sons on Maternal Longevity?". Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276(1664), 2081–2084.

Erik Lindqvist

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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