More siblings in your family means you will be less likely to get a divorce as an adult, according to a new study.
An Ohio State University news release reports findings suggest each sibling you have will reduce your chance of getting a divorce by 2 percent.
The paper, "Are There Long-Term Consequences to Growing Up Without Siblings? Likelihood of Divorce Among Only Children," will be presented on Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the American Sociological Association's 108th Annual Meeting.
"The practical difference between having no siblings and having one or two isn't that much in terms of divorce," Doug Downey, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology at The Ohio State University. "But when you compare children from large families to those with only one child, there is a meaningful gap in the probability of divorce."
The study used data from the General Social Survey, interviewing about 57,000 adults throughout the United States between 1972 and 2012.
Results suggested up to seven siblings provide "additional protection" from divorce. However, more than seven siblings did not negatively or positively impact chances of one's marriage breaking up.
Being an only child versus having siblings is significant because each sibling brings a different dynamic to a family, thus preparing you to deal with some issues as an adult.
"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," said Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State's Marion campus.
"But we found that the real story appears to be how family dynamics change incrementally with the addition of each sibling. 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 study does not explain why more siblings protects your chances of your marriage failing, but Downey provided some insight:
"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."