Lots of Siblings? Your Divorce Risk May Be Lower

New study finds lower risk of divorce in those with multiple siblings
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2013 1:20 PM CDT
Lots of Siblings? Your Divorce Risk May Be Lower
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Don't want your kid to end up divorced? Provide him or her with multiple siblings. A new study suggests that for each additional brother or sister a person has, that person's chances of getting divorced go down by 2%. But don't go too crazy; the effect wears off after around seven siblings, USA Today reports. What could explain the effect? The researchers, who looked at General Social Survey data from more than 57,000 adults collected between 1972 and 2012, suggest siblings help nurture social skills that later come in handy during married life.

Researchers were surprised to find little difference in divorce likelihood between those with no siblings and those with just one or two, US News & World Report notes. Of course, "there are a lot of other factors that affect divorce that are more important than how many siblings you had," a co-author says. And other experts on divorce and family size aren't convinced. Two of them call the study "interesting," but say more research is needed. And one adds that only children, these days, have a lot more interaction with the rest of the world. "We're not in the 1950s, where [an only child] might live in a household and mom might stay home and you'd interact all day with an adult," he says. "No kids do that anymore." (Read more siblings stories.)

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