Fewer siblings may increase risk of divorce

Three siblings

Having more siblings may decrease the risk of divorce later in life, according to a study by researchers at Ohio State University. The study reported that the more siblings an individual has, the less likely they are to get divorced.

The researchers admitted that there are a variety of factors that contribute to couples getting divorced in the U.S., but their study indicates a link between the number of siblings and the likelihood of divorce. The researchers said that individuals who grow up with more siblings have more experience handling issues that frequently come up during the marriage.

The researchers said that growing up with siblings helps people learn how to get along with different types of personalities and can help people develop skills for establishing and maintaining relationships for the rest of their lives. Having siblings affects the way a person handles negative and positive interactions, and the study found that individuals with more siblings have more experience discussing problems with other people, which can help during marital arguments and disputes.

While the study said that people with more siblings are less likely to get divorced, the researchers found no difference in the divorce rate between children with no siblings and children who grew up with one or two siblings. The study found that the divorce risk decreases by two percent for every additional sibling a person has, up to seven siblings. However, having more than seven siblings did not affect a person’s divorce rate.

The researchers said they would like to continue studying the impact siblings have on the risk of divorce to see how the number of siblings affects other behaviors and relationships in a person’s life. While this study indicates a link between siblings and divorce, couples decide to get divorced for a variety of reasons. Individuals considering divorce should consult a divorce attorney to discuss what next steps to take.

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Source: Time, “Big Families May Be the Best Way to Avoid Divorce,” Alexandra Sifferlin, Aug. 13, 2013