According to a recent study by researchers at Ohio State University, people who grew up with a greater number of brothers and sisters are less likely than only children to get divorced later on in life. Researchers presented the study, which is based on data collected by the General Social Survey between 1972 and 2012, at the recent meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York City.
When the Ohio State team examined the data, collected from over 57,000 adults, they were surprised to discover that each additional sibling reduces a person’s likelihood of divorce by approximately two percent. The study’s authors suggest that having siblings can help individuals develop the sorts of social skills that couples need to have a successful marriage.
The authors of the study are quick to point out that having a large number of siblings is simply one factor that affects the probability that a person will seek a divorce. Critics of the study also argue that the data is inconclusive and there is no evidence to prove that siblings help individuals develop social skills that are important in marriage. They suggest that those people who grow up in larger families may have a tendency to be more family oriented, which could account for the decrease in divorce probability. Others suggest that the basic premise of the study, that only children are somehow at a disadvantage, is fatally flawed.
Of course, the findings of this study are preliminary and researchers plan to continue their examination of the data in the future.
Source: USA Today, “Growing up with more siblings could reduce divorce risk,” Sharon Jayson, August 13, 2013