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Divorce Rates Lower, the More Siblings You Have

Divorce Rates Correspond with Number of Siblings.

A new study presented at a meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York City has found a direct correlation between lower divorce rates and a higher number of siblings.

The study gathered data from more than 57,000 adults between 1972 and 2012 and researchers found adults who had more than two brothers and sisters were less likely to divorce than adults who were only children, or had just one or two siblings. For each additional sibling a person had (up to about seven) the likelihood of divorce was reduced by 2 percent, according to a USA Today article.

The data for these statistics comes from the General Social Survey, which has monitored societal change and studied the growing complexity of American society since 1972, according to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

“We found this to be quite interesting information, even though anyone can tell you there are far more important and significant factors that tend to lead to divorce,” says John Griffith, a divorce lawyer who represents clients in Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar, San Diego and other neighboring areas. “Still, it’s quite interesting that the data show a relationship between divorce rates and the number of siblings.”

How do sibling numbers affect divorce rates? The study’s authors hypothesized that having a lot of siblings leads to better-developed social skills, which may prove helpful in navigating the sometimes challenging marital landscape.

“I think that’s a plausible explanation, given the fact that arguments over finances and intimacy issues often are cited as reasons why someone wants to divorce their spouse,” Griffith says. “Working through those types of issues requires excellent communication skills.”

When you lack communication skills in your marriage, things often only get worse during the divorce process when you have to address prenuptial agreements and potentially contentious issues like custody and property division.

A survey of counseling professionals from YourTango.com, a site dedicated to love and relationships, found that communication problems are the main reason couples divorce.

Getting back to the siblings study, lots of professionals have weighed in on the news of this study and plenty of them warn against reading too much into the numbers. However, many still call the results “interesting and plausible,” the USA Today article stated.