Raising twins is stressful. In fact, it may be so stressful that it accounts for a finding that parents of twins are somewhat more likely to get divorced than parents without twins.
The tendency for parents of twins to divorce at higher rates than parents of non-twins was slight. It was only a one percent difference. Researchers could not say what in particular accounted for the difference, but speculated that the emotional or financial stresses of raising twins increased the risk of divorce.
Researchers pointed to the prevalence of twins in three to four percent of U.S. births. As twins become more common with use of fertility drugs, the risk of divorces may follow, and the numbers could become significant.
The study used 1980 census data to compare families who had twins as first-born children and to families who did not.
Data from later censuses did not include information about twins, and the researchers preferred to use older data anyway, because parents' use of fertility treatments was much less common then.
The examination of the data found that 13 percent of mothers with a non-twin eldest child reported being divorced and not living with their child's birth father, compared to 14 percent for mothers who had twins in their first birth.
Pittsburgh divorce attorneys noted that additional factors that apparently increased risk were large numbers of children, low income, and twin pairs with at least one girl.
The authors of the study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, did not want to discourage having twins, but wanted to publicize the stresses that come with raising twins. Knowing about the problems ahead of time can help families prepare for the challenges.
Source: Reuters "Parents of twins slightly more likely to divorce" 3/31/2011