Large families may mean - for some siblings - a childhood of second hand clothes and battles at the dinner table over the last piece of bacon, but the pay off is worth it.

If you believe the results of a recent study flagged up by Jezebel.com, you're less likely to get divorced.

According to a very lengthy and extensive study in the US conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, there is a strong link between people who have several siblings (up to seven) and lower odds of divorce.

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The study looked at data collected from about 57,000 people in the United States between 1972 and 2012. It showed that for people from large families, there was a 2% lower chance of getting divorced.

In the UK, the divorce rate currently stands at 42%.

Talking to HuffPost UK, blogger Susan Eskinazi - consultant to DivorceDepot.co.uk commented:

"The research is certainly interesting and would seem to point to there being a link between number of siblings and divorce. The fact is that being one of many - in particular sisters - means that you are open to discussions and more likely to talk about, and be open with your feelings.

"Compromise and other skills learned as being part of a large family can really help when picking a partner in marriage, and also to overcome difficulties within the marriage rather than head straight for the door - which helps increase the length and health of a marriage too."

Certainly researchers agree so too, although the research didn't examine why having more siblings reduces the risk of divorce, there was speculation.


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US News quoted co-author and professor of sociology Doug Downey as saying: "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 and 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."

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Chris McIntosh, director of Divorce Easily, agrees that communication plays a big part and having to share the attention of your loved ones. "Marriage is all about compromise and communication. It therefore stands to reason that people growing up in larger families would be able to use their childhood experience of both for the benefit of their adult relationships.

"Children with siblings learn quickly that they cannot always come first and that the limelight needs to be shared. Only children, however, may be more used to doing what they want when they want and being the focus of their parents' attention. What is surprising is the very specific benefit gained for each sibling you have in terms of lowering your risk of divorce."

Of course, that doesn't mean you're doomed if you don't have a large family. Susan adds: "However here number of brothers and sisters people have is just one of a myriad of factors relating to divorce and whether or not marriage will break down, and that's not to say that only children aren't capable of the same skills as those with many siblings."


Despite the high chance of divorce, rates actually decreased in the UK by 1.9% between 2011 and 2012, and a recent study showed that the best hope for longevity was to make it past the 10-year mark.

What are your tips for a successful marriage? Tell us in the comments below...

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