Are there long term consequences to growing up with few siblings? Sibship size in childhood and social life in adulthood


Dr. Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Dr. Douglas Downey, Professor, Department of Sociology 


Some scholarship has considered the potential problems low fertility may cause at the societal level, such as labor shortages and an aging population (Zachariah 2001), but surprisingly little research has explored how growing up with few siblings influences children’s ability to get along with peers and eventually develop long-term meaningful relationships in adulthood.  The primary goal of this seed grant is to assess these questions using a unique instrumental variable:  miscarriages.  This research will serve as the basis for a conference presentation, a publishable manuscript, and development of a full grant proposal for the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD). 

Publications resulting from this seed grant

Bobbitt-Zeher, Donna, Douglas B. Downey, and Joseph Merry.  Forthcoming.  “Number of Siblings During Childhood and the Likelihood of Divorce in Adulthood.”  Journal of Family IssuesPMCID: PMC5098899