Divorces are hard, and even the most amicable of breakups can leave one feeling confounded and worried. It is easy to ask yourself what you could have done to make things better. Many people look at divorce as a failure, and the emotional baggage of not being able to live to an ideal can be really tough at times.

But a new study suggests that it may not just be your fault―a lot of your adult decisions, including the decision to divorce, is decided by your childhood experiences. The study which looks at the effects siblings can have on adult divorces shows that as a kid, if you were one of many children, then the chances are high that you will not take a divorce lightly. But adults who grew up as the only kid in the house show a slightly higher propensity to divorce.

Family ties can reduce divorce rates

According to the study, each additional sibling that a person has can reduce the likelihood of a divorce by 2%. The analysis is based on data collected by surveying 57,601 adults between 1972 and 2012. Ohio State University sociologist Doug Downey, who’s also a co-author of the study is quick to point out that though there are other factors that affect divorce rates which are much more impactful than the number of siblings one had as a kid, the effect of familial ties cannot be completely negated either.

According to the sociologist, the number of siblings is an important factor as compared to other emotional and environmental factors that increase the likelihood of divorce, the presence of siblings works to curb the tendency to break up and run away.


This new study says if you grow up in a large family you have a smaller chance of obtaining a divorce later on in life.

Not everyone is convinced

According to the researchers who worked on the thirty year-long study, the presence of siblings may be crucial because they can help instill necessary social skills in kids that bear fruit in the adult life. Having brothers and sisters around teaches you how to navigate situations and the same skills can become an important trick in navigating the ups and downs of marriage.

The study does seem to paint the picture of a traditional family life in glorious hues, but as other researchers and sociologists have countered, it does not give a definitive answer to the problem of divorce and the factors that affect it. Sociologist S. Philip Morgan, director at the Carolina Population Centre at the University of North Carolina, says that while people from larger families are generally more family oriented and have better social skills than single kids, he is still not completely convinced by the data from the Ohio survey when it comes to predicting trends in divorce.

A slight naysayer

Paul Amato, demographer at Penn State University, also echoes the same thoughts when he says that while the Ohio study is the first of its kind to look at the issue of divorce from this perspective, it certainly isn’t the final word on the topic. So don’t go calling your divorce attorneys just because you happened to be an only child; but do be aware that the science surely does put you at a disadvantage. Whether you prove it wrong or right is certainly up to you.