Study shows having siblings can reduce chances of divorce

Big families like the Gosselin children have a two percent lower chance of getting a divorce in their adulthood with each sibling they have. / Getty Images.
Big families like the Gosselin children have a two percent lower chance of getting a divorce in their adulthood with each sibling they have. Credit: Getty Images.

Sure, your sister is annoying when she borrows your clothes without asking and you’re covered in bruises from your brother wrestling you — but try not to be too angered because your siblings might just be your keys to having a successful marriage, according to a new study.

“When you compare children from large families to those with only one child,” Doug Downey, co-author of the study, said in a release, “there is a meaningful gap in the probability of divorce.”

The study shows that growing up with siblings may lower your chance of getting divorced as an adult, and the more the better.

For every sibling a person has (up to seven), their likelihood of divorce is decreases by two percent.

Downey and Donna Bobbitt- Zeher, professors of sociology at The Ohio State University, conducted the study alongside graduate student, Joseph Merry with data used from the General Social Survey, which includes about 57,000 adults across the United States from 1972-2012.

“Having more siblings means more experience dealing with others,” says Bobbitt-Zeher, co-author of the study, in a release, “and that seems to provide additional help in dealing with a marriage relationship as an adult.”

However, this study only demonstrates one of the multiple factors that lead to divorce.

“There is a relationship between the number of siblings and divorce,” says Bobbitt- Zeher, “but it is not something that is going to doom your marriage if you don’t have a brother or sister.”

So yeah, with today’s economy it probably isn’t rational to have a big family, but hey, if it decreases today’s 50 percent divorce rate, maybe it’s a worth it for the sake of your children.

After all, money can’t buy happiness, but maybe siblings can.

Follow Julie Kayzerman on Twitter @juliekayzerman


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