04/23/2012 12:23 EDT

Mothers Favour Daughters Over Husbands As They Age, Study Suggests


Move over husbands -- as women age, their focus shifts from partners to daughters, a study published in Scientific Reports suggested.

In an analysis of cell phone activity, researchers found middle-aged women most often contacted young females, presumably a daughter, based on age analysis. A male from the same age group, possibly the husband, came in second, while younger males (assumed to be sons) came in third.

Who are men calling? Primarily their wives, researchers believed -- and phone calls to children were an equal amount for both genders.

The study researched 1.95 billion phone calls and 489 million texts from a mobile service provider in a European country over a seven-month period.

Scientists suggest the trend reflects a change in priorities, as after age 40 women’s biological roles tend to shift from finding a mate and reproducing to nurturing grandchildren.

Project lead Vasyl Palchykov told the Toronto Star the study could indicate “that however modern our society this ancient, instinctive feature finds a way govern our behaviour.”

Other experts, however, believe these findings have other explanations.

The dynamic could indicate the existence of marital problems, leading wives to turn to their daughters for companionship, Beverly Hills psychoanalyst Fran Walfish told ABC.

Or it could simply mean mothers and daughters become better suited to offer each other advice as the years progress, hypothesized one 24 year old, Anouk, in The Daily Mail.

"I know [my mother] will tell me what is the right thing to do, rather than tell me what I want to hear,” she said, adding that her parents maintain a strong marital foundation.

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