The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

August 15, 2013

Ohio State study finds divorce risk lower if you have siblings

The siblings we play, argue and compete with as kids might help us stay married as adults.

A nationwide study released found that growing up with brothers and sisters seems to provide some protection against divorce.

And the more siblings, the better: Each additional sibling a person has (up to about seven) reduces the likelihood of divorce by 2 percent.

That’s not a big practical difference, and other factors — such as whether your parents divorced — probably loom larger. But the Ohio State University researchers say they revealed “a mean-ingful gap” when they compared children from large families with those who had no sibling.

OSU sociology professor Doug Downey, a co-author of the study, said researchers had expected that having siblings would afford useful personal-relationship experience.

“But 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.”

Bobbitt-Zeher presented the findings yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York City. She and Downey conducted the study with Joseph Merry, an OSU graduate student.

They used demographic data and interview information collected from about 57,000 people through the General Social Survey, a national sociological survey, at various points between 1972 and 2012.

The researchers analyzed other variables that could play a role in a future divorce, including education, socioeconomic status, family structure, race, age and religion.

“We tried to measure how religious a family is, how traditional they were,” Downey said, but those and other factors still couldn’t explain away the sibling difference.

The researchers had conducted previous studies looking at the relationship between the number of siblings and a person’s social skills.

In 2004, Downey led a study that found that kindergarten teachers rated students with siblings as having better social skills than students without siblings. But the “onlies” seem to catch up: This year, Downey and Bobbitt-Zeher published a study that said teens without siblings were just as likely to be chosen for a friend as were teens who have brothers and sisters.

Historically, research on the effect of siblings tends to paint a picture of diminishing returns, with kids from larger families receiving less parental attention and faring worse academically.

Downey said the divorce research could be pointing to one way that siblings make a positive and lasting difference.

“Some people might say, ’Should we be having another kid?’” Downey said, noting the trend toward smaller families. “You probably wouldn’t want to do that on the basis of study results.”

Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Potential for heart attack, stroke risk seen with marijuana use

    Over a five-year period, a government-mandated tracking system in France showed that physicians in that country treated 1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, and nearly 2 percent of those encounters were with patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke, and circulation problems in the arms and legs. In roughly a quarter of those cases, the study found, the patient died.

    April 24, 2014

  • Cleveland women held captive seek Joan Rivers’ apology

    Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter’s guest room with the captivity they experienced.

    April 24, 2014

  • Fracking foes challenge earthquake assurances

    A citizens group said Wednesday it isn’t taking the word of state regulators that new permitting guidelines will protect public health after earthquakes in northeast Ohio were linked to the gas drilling method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

    April 24, 2014

  • U.S. weighs clemency for inmates jailed 10 years

    The Obama administration is encouraging many nonviolent federal prisoners to apply for early release — and expecting thousands to take up the offer. It’s an effort to deal with high costs and overcrowding in prisons, and also a matter of fairness, the government says.

    April 24, 2014

  • Lower-income teens don’t get enough sleep

    African-American high school students and boys in low- to middle-income families reported short, fragmented sleep, and that could play a role in their health risks, researchers reported Monday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Health agencies try to counter mumps outbreak

    Health agencies trying to stem a large and growing mumps outbreak are advising college, school and even day care leaders to make sure central Ohio students are immunized and to separate them from those who haven’t been vaccinated and those who are infected.

    April 23, 2014

  • An ocean of broken hearts

    Lee Byung-soo says he knew, when he saw his 15-year-old son’s body in the tent. It could not have been more horrifically obvious. But he wanted so much for him to be alive.

    April 22, 2014

  • Biden conferring with Ukranian leader over what to do
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kiev on Monday for talks with Ukraine’s embattled interim leaders as Russia’s top diplomat blamed Washington for instigating the crisis that threatens to escalate into armed conflict between the two former Soviet republics.

    April 22, 2014

  • Panel’s role in Cleveland police ruling questioned

    A lawyer for families of men killed in separate 2012 shootings by Cleveland police — including a 137-bullet chase under federal investigation — is questioning a grand jury’s role in a recent county prosecutor’s ruling.

    April 21, 2014

  • Gender gap under Ohio governor nearly $10 an hour

    A newspaper investigation has found the average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio’s five elected statewide officials has grown to as much as almost $10 an hour, as it’s shrunk to under a dollar across the rest of state government.

    April 21, 2014

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video