April 15, 2010

Are Parents of Twins More Likely to Divorce?

Posted in Divorce tagged at 6:20 pm by demetriagraves

The current divorce rate in America is between 41% to 50% for first marriages. That’s an average, of course, and the average fluctuates depending upon the age of the couple at the time of their wedding day. However a recent study in the UK has shown that parents with twins are more likely to end up divorced, broke and out of work. Married couples were 17 per cent more likely to divorce if they had twins or triplets rather than several children with gaps in between.

The high costs of having multiple children seemed to be one of the main causes for the large number of divorces. Two thirds of multiple-birth families said that they were significantly worse off after their babies were born, compared with 40 per cent of other parents. Nine months after giving birth, mothers of twins and triplets were 20 per cent less likely to have returned to work than mothers of single babies, the cost of childcare being largely to blame, according to the research.

The proportion of multiple births has soared as a result of in vitro fertilization and women giving birth when they are older, according to the research. One in 65 births now results in twins or triplets compared with one in 100 in 1970.

In this regard, the results of the study are surprising; the parents of multiple birth children are older and more established.   Apparently, the advantages of maturity and being established in a career fall by the wayside as a result of the demands of having multiple children.

Surely the stresses of raising a set of sextuplets and a set of twins must have contributed to the breakdown of Jon and Kate Gosselin’s marriage, but what about other families with multiples? While a great deal of research suggests that parents with twins and multiples have a higher divorce rate,  it’s interesting to examine the preliminary findings issued by Mothers of Supertwins (MOST) from an ongoing survey they’ve been conducting on “Divorce and the Multiple Birth Family.”

The survey began on June 25, 2009. As of this writing, they had surveyed more than 2,800 parents or guardians of multiples. Most of the participants were:

  • Mothers (97.5%)
  • US residents (93.4%)
  • Predominantly Caucasian (92.4%)
  • An average age of 32 when their multiples were conceived
  • In households with an average of 3 children, mostly families with twins (61%) or triplets (30%)
  • Married for the first time (86%)

Additional findings revealed that:

  • 4.3% of respondents divorced during the pregnancy or following the birth of multiples
  • More than 95% of marriages were intact
  • Approximately 82% of the respondents reported overall positive marital satisfaction

Overall, they found a divorce rate among respondents of 3.6% for parents of twins, 5% for parents of triplets, 9.2% for parents of quadruplets, and 4.2% for parents with quintuplets/sextuplets or more than one set of multiples.

MOST cautions that this study is ongoing and has certain limitations, but it is interesting to note that the findings thus far indicate a much lower rate of divorce among families with multiples than expected.

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