A recent study is calling attention to the relationship between twins.
The 2016 Results
Researchers from the Danish Twin Registry accumulated data from more than 2,900 pairs of same-sex twins born in Denmark between 1870 and 1900. They compared their mortality rates to that of the general non-twin Danish population.
The study found that identical twins live longer than fraternal twins. And that fraternal twins live longer than non-twins.
The Marriage Protection Effect From the 1990s
Do you remember all the hype in the 90s about the so-called marriage protection effect? Studies showed that individuals who were married enjoyed overall better health than those who were not married. The researchers theorized that people who are in close, intimate, loving relationships (which marriages are idealized to be) are healthier because they have someone who cares about them and would help protect them from illness and calamity.
The critics questioned this conclusion. They posited that we cannot conclude that marriage itself makes you healthier. Perhaps instead it’s just that healthier people are more likely to get married.
Resolving All Doubt
This Danish Twin Study helps resolve the conundrum. Unlike the marriage study, we can say that twins are healthier and live longer — and we cannot say that those who are healthier and live longer are twins. In other words, while you can choose to marry (and thus call into question the marriage protection effect), you cannot choose to be a twin. Thus when you conclude that twins live longer than non-twins because they’re in close relationships, there’s less doubt that it’s the close relationship itself that improves longevity.
So this twin study supports the larger body of research that has tried to prove that close social relationships are good for your health.
This is indeed positive news for parents of twins who are close to each other. It gives us fresh incentive to continue to encourage a loving friendship among all of our children. It also behooves us to continue to develop and grow our relationship with our children. Besides, the longer we stick around, the more opportunities we’ll have to show our offspring and our offspring’s offspring what awesome parents we are! 😀