How many siblings do you have? A new study from the Ohio State University claims the number of brothers and sisters you have growing up plays a role in your risk of divorce later in life.
According to an article in Science Daily, though the difference between kids who grow up with none or just one or two siblings is negligible, there is a marked 'protection' against divorce for those hailing from larger families.
"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 assistant professor of sociology at OSU.
"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."
The study drew on data from 57,000 adults across the United States at 28 points between 1972 and 2012 as part of the General Social Survey. And even when researchers accounted for variables in socioeconomic, racial, religious and educational factors, the trend remained.
So what is it about large families that sets the stage for sound adult relationships?
"Growing up in a family with siblings, you develop a set of skills for negotiating both negative and positive interactions," said Doug Downey, co-author of the study and professor of sociology. "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."
Great news for sprawling families, like that of our own Julie Cole, and this celeb who spurned the idea of having just one child. However, the fact remains that women are having fewer babies in North America and elsewhere.
Are you from a large family? How did it affect your adult relationships?