More siblings mean less chance of divorce: study


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The more siblings you have, the less likely you are to get divorced when you grow up, suggests a study presented Tuesday at a major convention of American sociologists.

Doug Downey of Ohio State University said that, in terms of divorce, having no siblings or just one or two doesn’t make much of a practical difference.

“But when you compare children from large families to those with only one child, there is a meaningful gap in the probability of divorce,” he said.

Using data from the General Social Survey, Downey and his fellow researchers calculated that the likelihood of divorce in adulthood drops two percent with each additional brother or sister a person has.

“The real story appears to be how family dynamics change incrementally with the addition of each sibling,” said Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, a co-author of the study.

“Having more siblings means more experience dealing with others — and that seems to provide additional help in dealing with a marriage relationship as an adult.”

The General Social Survey, a trove of raw sociological data, comprises interviews with 57,000 adults across the United States by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Downey and Bobbitt-Zeher presented their findings at the 108th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association that concludes Tuesday in New York.

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