While for years some social scientists have claimed that children of divorce may be more likely to form unhappy marriages in their own future, recent studies indicate that kids with step families may actually benefit from witnessing a parents’ happier union, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A study released in January by the Pew Research Center confirms such a hypothesis. In a survey of 2,691 adults in the U.S., 60 percent of people who grew up in step families said their marriages are closer than those of their biological parents. In addition, 70 percent of respondents with step relatives reported being very satisfied with their family life.

While 42 percent of people with at least one step-relative said they felt a stronger sense of obligation to their biological parent, the research still indicates that stepchildren may benefit from seeing a parent positively connect with a stepparent.

More than 40 percent of Americans have at least one step relative. A study from the University of Missouri found that step children are more likely to react favorably to a step parent if they perceive their step parent likes them and displays friendly behaviors toward them.

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