Having more siblings could help marriages last longer, according to a new study.
Researchers at Ohio State University have determined that each additional sibling a person has — up to about 7 — reduces the likelihood of divorce by 2 percent.
“Growing up in a family with siblings, you develop a set of skills for negotiating both negative and positive interactions. You have to consider other people’s points of view, learn how to talk through problems. The more siblings you have, the more opportunities you have to practice those skills,” said Doug Downey, co-author of the study and professor of sociology at Ohio State.
And that helps people deal with a marriage relationship as an adult, he said in a sciencedaily.com report.
The study involved interviews with about 57,000 adults from across the United States between 1972 and 2012, according to Science Daily.
The results showed that each additional sibling up to about seven provided additional protection from divorce, Downey told Science Daily.
More siblings didn’t provide additional protection, but they did not hurt, either.
The researchers analyzed a variety of factors that could have affected the results, including education, socioeconomic status, family structure, race, age at marriage, among others.
“When we added in all of these controls, nothing took away the relationship we saw between siblings and later divorce,” said researcher Donna Bobbitt-Zeher.
Researchers said this new study highlights the positive effects of having siblings, but the results shouldn’t lead parents of only children to worry.
“There are so many factors that are related to divorce, and the number of siblings you have is just one of them,” Bobbitt-Zeher said.
About the Author