Posted on Sep 19, 2013

A divorce study conducted by Ohio State University sociologists has found that an adult is less likely to divorce the more siblings he has. Specifically, the study found that each sibling a person has decreases their chance of divorce by about two percent, up to seven siblings.

The nationwide study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York City, utilized information collected in the General Social Survey, which examined 57,000 people in America between 1972 and 2012. A number of factors that could affect the chances of divorce, including education, socioeconomic status, family structure, race, and age and religion, were also taken into consideration – but none could completely explain the correlation between having multiple siblings and having a lasting marriage.

Why do people with more siblings have a less likely chance of divorce? Researchers don’t know for sure, but there are several theories emerging. Some believe that those with more siblings may have an easier time interacting with others socially. Others believe that those with many siblings are well adapted to changing family dynamics. Still others think that people with more siblings may have simply grown up in better functioning families.

Some have decried the results of the divorce study, pointing out that the results of the study have not been duplicated and that other studies have shown that only children don’t suffer from social issues despite long-standing stereotypes.

Children of Divorce Struggle with Parental Relationships

Past studies about people with numerous siblings have found that they receive less parental attention and may not perform as well academically.

A new divorce study, published in the autumn issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, has found that people have a more difficult time forming close relationships with their parents if their mother and father divorced when they were young. The study sheds light on the complex consequences of divorce on children, and researchers hope that the information will make parents more aware of their relationship with their children during and after they split from their spouse.

The study, which surveyed almost 8,000 people regarding their relationships, found that those who had their parents’ divorce between birth and age five had a more difficult time establishing a close relationship with both of their parents. Researchers found that these people not only described the relationship with their parents as unstable, but also reported that any relationship with a significant other was also more unstable. They also reported feeling more anxiety about relationships than people who did not experience a divorce as a child.

The researchers, who work at the University of Illinois, said that while going through a parents’ divorce when young does not have a blanket effect on all adult relationships, it could still affect some romantic relationships. In addition, children of divorce reported having a more strained or difficult relationship with the parent that they did not live with after the divorce. 

The study concludes that living arrangements and time spent with young children may affect the future strength of the parent-child relationship – and could affect the amount of relationship anxiety felt by those who experienced their parents’ divorce at a young age.

Contact the Seattle divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550 to schedule a divorce consultation.

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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington