By Robert L. Mues   |   September 21st, 2013

Divorce Rates Lowered By Number Of Siblings In Family Says Study

divorceA new study co-authored by Ohio State’s Doug Downey seems to indicate that growing up with more siblings can reduce your chance of divorce later in life.

The study conducted involved analyzing data collected by the “General Social Survey.”  This data was compiled from 1972 to 2012 and was compiled of over 57 thousand adults.  The resulting analysis led to a conclusive theory that each sibling you have can reduce your chances of divorce later in life by up to 2% each from sibling 3 to 7.

Downey, commenting on the analysis, stated that, “When you compare children from large families to those with only one child, there is a meaningful gap in the probability of divorce.”

The other co-author of the study, Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, Ph.D., discussed the findings in a different light.  Dr. Bobbitt-Zeher stated that the results weren’t only in having different relationships between siblings, but how the families changed their mind-set when another sibling was added.   Insofar as the personal relationship aspect, Downey stated that:

  • “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.”

There are some critics to this theory though.   Including many sociologists that state even though there may be a correlation between the two, there are numerous other events and circumstances that have a significantly greater effect on divorce rate.

Demographer Paul Amato, from Penn State University, stated that…

  • “It’s the first study I know of to have looked at this, but in the social sciences, you shouldn’t get too excited about a single study,” Also stating that, “It would have to be replicated multiple times before you can have too much faith in it.”

While having a large family can reduce the risk of divorce later in life, not having a large family doesn’t seem to show any signs of elevated divorce risk as, according to the study, having 0 to 2 siblings doesn’t seem to have any effect on the divorce rate.

Can Growing Up In A Large Family Reduce The Risk Of Divorce?

Of course many people from smaller families have successful marriages, but the relationship between sibling number and divorce seems to suggest that growing up with many brothers and sisters can be a good foundation for creating positive relationships. To read more about the study click here.

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Robert L. MuesAbout The Author: Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.

Divorce Study: Are Your Siblings Saving Your Marriage?
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