As annoying as growing up in a family full of siblings can be, people with good marriages may just owe their brothers and sisters a thank you. A sociology study published by researchers at the Ohio State University has found that there may be a link between having more siblings and having marriage that is less likely to end in divorce.
In order to come to this conclusion, the researchers used data from the General Social Survey, which records information based on interviews with 57,000 U.S. adults. The researchers examined several generations, using study data from 1972 to 2012.
The Study's Findings
The study's authors found that a person's risk of divorce drops two percent for each sibling he or she has. However, this trend only continues up to about seven siblings before the divorce risk levels off. This is especially interesting because it means that only having one or two siblings does not significantly change a person's divorce. Instead, what really matters are the shifting family dynamics that occur with larger numbers of siblings.
The study's authors also understood that having a larger family was itself linked to a lot of other demographic factors like income, religious affiliation, and age. In order to deal with this issue, the researchers controlled for other variables that may link to family size and may have an impact on divorce. That means that these results bear out across different generations, different geographies, different religions, and different income levels.
Why This Is
The study's authors noted that the way the research was done does not allow them to draw firm conclusions about why this correlation exists, but they did put forward one possible idea. Large families promote the development of skills related to negotiation and conflict resolution, like the ability to see the other person's side in an argument. This becomes even more pronounced with more and more siblings as parents have less and less time to spend refereeing disputes. This sort of increase in social skills among children with siblings has already been documented by other studies.
The researchers also acknowledge that there are a wide array of different factors that play a role in whether a couple gets divorced. This is just one of them, and it certainly is not necessary for a healthy marriage.
Of course anyone, even people with a lot of siblings, can experience problems in their marriage. If you are having trouble in your marriage and would like to learn more about your options for divorce, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney today. Our team is here to help guide you through this emotional process.