August 13, 2013 ( – A new study conducted by Ohio State University has found that children who grow up in large families have lower rates of divorce.

“When you compare children from large families to those with only one child, there is a meaningful gap in the probability of divorce,” Doug Downey, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology at The Ohio State University, said. 


The study’s researchers say that with every additional sibling, up to seven siblings, a child’s risk for being divorced as an adult is reduced by two percent.  More siblings than that didn't provide additional protection, although they did not hurt, either.

“Growing up in a family with siblings, you develop a set of skills for negotiating both negative and positive interactions,” Downey said. “You have to consider other people's points of view (and) learn how to talk through problems.” 

“The more siblings you have, the more opportunities you have to practice those skills,” Downey said in a press release

He offered another explanation his study’s findings, saying, “It could have been that small families are more likely to have a single parent, or have some other issue that may hurt children in their future marriage relationship.” 

The study, which is based on interviews with about 57,000 adults between 1972 and 2012 collected for the General Social Survey, will be presented to the American Sociological Association today. 

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