11: More siblings → Fewer divorces. Unpacking a recent study

When it comes to preventing divorce in adulthood, the more siblings the better.


BIG News for Future Big Families!

On this episode we unpack a 2013 study that shows that more siblings essentially lead to fewer divorces. We go through the research, share some highlights, and generally do a lot of head nodding in support of the data.

But here’s a key takeaway: it seems like, although good sibling relationships help prevent divorce, it’s the learning of how to create and bond relationships that really strengthen marriages.

What the Researchers Say

We called up and spoke with study co-author Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, but it was only because we wanted to pronounce her name the right way. 🙂 But she was very kind and gracious with her time. (Thanks donna!)

Even though she wasn’t interviewed for our show, she is quoted elsewhere on this study. From The Columbus Dispatch:

“… we found that the real story appears to be how family dynamics change incrementally with the addition of each sibling,” said co-author Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, an assistant professor of sociology at the OSU Marion campus.


“More siblings means more experience dealing with others, and that seems to provide additional help in dealing with a marriage relationship as an adult.”

Moreover, the study shows proof backing up the claims. (Helloooo – that’s why they’re scientists.) Crunching the data revealed that it’s not as cut and dry as “a big family decreases the likelihood of divorce.” It’s actually decreased incrementally with each additional sibling! So, up to about seven siblings, each extra brother or sister a person has decreases the chance of divorce by 2%.

What’s Next

Interesting stuff, huh? Check out the show for more. Listen to the episode below, or click here to subscribe to the show in iTunes.