Study: Parents of twins more likely to divorce

A new study found that couples who have twins as their first born are more likely to get a divorce than those couples who either have no children, or have kids one at a time. And while there are no concrete answers as to why the parents of twins have slightly higher divorce rates, researchers did note that added financial and emotional stress is most likely to blame.

The study compared the marital status of 800,000 families from the 1980 census. That year was chosen because the census included information related to twins, and also because it was before the increased use of fertility treatments, which can increase the chance of having twins, and could also have an impact on a couple’s finances and emotions.

In total it was found that 14 percent of those who had twins as their first born ended up getting a divorce. For those that did have a child, or did have kids – but not twins – the divorce rate was 13 percent. And while this 1 percent difference may not seem like much for now, researchers noted that as more couples turn to fertility treatments, the likelihood for twins will also increase, which means that the divorce rate gap between parents of twins versus those without twins might also increase.

The study also found that those who had either older twins or twin pairs that included one girl, were also more likely to divorce than those with younger twins or a boy-boy pair.

The lead doctor involved in the study said that financial factors, like having to buy two sets of everything and not having the luxury of handing down clothes and cribs from previous children, may be part of the reason that more parents of twins end up getting divorced.

Another researcher – who was not involved with the study – said another factor could also be a lack of sleep for the parents when having to care for two babies.

Either way, the study was not intended to deter people from having twins, but to help parents of twins be more aware of some of the increased challenges they may face.

Source: Reuters, “Parents of twins slightly more likely to divorce,” Genevra Pittman, 31 March 2011

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