People from larger families are less likely to divorce, new research suggests.
The risk of divorce falls by two per cent for every additional brother or sister, according to the findings. People with seven siblings reportedly have the lowest risk of divorce.
Sociologists at the University of Ohio analysed the living circumstances of almost 60,000 adults, concluding that larger families encourage the development of social skills and co-operation amongst children.
One or two siblings did not have a significant impact, the researchers said, but there was a “meaningful” difference between being an only child and having a large family.
The results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association this week.
Researcher Donna Bobbit-Zeher said:
“We expected that if you had any siblings at all, that would give you the experience with personal relationships that would help you in marriage. But we found that the real story appears to be how family dynamics change incrementally with the addition of each sibling. More siblings means more experience dealing with others, and that seems to provide additional help in dealing with a marriage relationship as an adult.”
Fellow researcher and sociology professor Doug Downey added:
“Growing up in a family with siblings, you develop a set of skills for negotiating both negative and positive interactions. You have to consider other people’s points of view, learn how to talk through problems. The more siblings you have, the more opportunities you have to practice those skills. That can be a good foundation for adult relationships, including marriage.”