Paper Example on the Impact of Birth Order on Personality

Published: 2022-12-27
Paper Example on the Impact of Birth Order on Personality
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Family Personality Child development
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1648 words
14 min read


The overall idea of this research is on the impacts of birth position on the personality of individuals in a family setup. Birth order is referred to as the child's position among siblings and a factor that affects a child's role among siblings which adds to his personality. This research acknowledges the fact there are development needs differs between the first born and the last born child in the family. Children develop different developmental strategies to gain access to family resources. These strategies are actualized through the establishment of personal niche which is manifested by behavior and personality variance between siblings. Many researchers state that even if children are living in the same family and environment, their traits will always vary.

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This proposal will highlight the source of the various personality differences between siblings. Several theories explain the forces that influence the development of an individual which will highlight the possible reasons that play a role in sibling interaction. Behavioral genetics has many research published indicating the influence of genetics on personality citing that about 40% of variances in personality emanate from genetic factors, 35% from non-shared environmental factors, 5% from shared environments and the remain 20% is due to sampling and measurement errors. The notable aspect of these results is the influence of shared environments on personality development, accounting for about 5%. Thus, the shared family experienced seem to have little impact on an individual's personality.

The shared family experience having less influence on personality is criticized, and refinements variance arising from shared environment should be increased for the significant gene-environment interaction to become apparent.

Morales, & Kumar (1997) believe that the position held by a child in the family affects the child's behavior whether outside or inside the home environment. According to his studies, the first born is more responsible, more confident and exhibits higher self-esteem. These arise from differences in the preferences and the wants of an individual the competition among siblings for access to family resources evident. However, the availability of resources at any given time and the allocation of these resources to children is a challenge all siblings face.

Literature Review

Rohrer, Egloff, & Schmukle (2015), the study evaluates the question of there being a possible existing connection between the birth position and the individual's lifestyle. According to the research on the influence of the birth position and intelligence, there is a decline in the level of knowledge from the firstborns to the later-born.

There are inconclusive findings from the study of birth position effects on personality. In the research, even the slightest impact of birth position would have been realized based on high statistical power. The evaluation of any emergence effect on different samples also helped to detect even the minor impacts of birth position. Two different strategies were employed to examine the effects of birth position. The investigation was carried out on siblings, and separate family set ups. According to the study, the birth position has an insignificant influence on the traits investigated.

Gustafson (2010) is a literary study in the investigation of the effects of birth position on individual's attributes. The research studied several areas in the lifetime that include issues like relationship establishment, mental condition, and executive functioning. According to the study, it is clear that birth position confers significant effects on one's personality. The firstborn child is treated differently from their later siblings. Parents spend more time with their firstborn kids than the others. During adolescence, the first-born kids were more agreeable and conscientious, while other traits like neuroticism, extraversion, openness, conservatism were found to have no significant differences.

There is an agreement to the findings of the study by Johnson (2014). During adolescence, second borns had stronger connections in terms of relationships than the firstborn. The intimacy is passed towards their elder siblings as well as friends. Birth order was also found to have a negative impact on the level of education; this is also in agreement with the literature by Al-Khayat, & AL-Adwan (2016). Questionnaires referred to as the gold standard for personality were used. Real-life inferences would have given more valid information.

In addition to this perception of intellectual achievement involved incorporation of conscientiousness, this may exaggerate the association of higher intellect levels to first-born siblings. Variables such as participants' and siblings' sex, age-spacing and number of siblings in a family should be well distributed as shown in the study by Johnson (2014).

In the research by Bleske-Rechek & Kelley (2013), study design involved the use of a within-family design with self-reported data collected. The research on the significant five personality traits included recruitment of 70 females and 22 male undergraduate students who filled questionnaires.

The information from parents and peers, inferred consistent results when conferred to a mathematical relation of birth position. In this context, the birth position lacks a considerable impact on personality (Bleske-Rechek & Kelley, 2013). The findings of this study vary significantly to the results of other research by Johnson (2014), Al-Khayat, & AL-Adwan (2016), Gustafson (2010) which indicates significant impacts of birth order on personality but it's in agreement to the research by Rohrer, Egloff & Schmukle (2015).

The study by Consten (2017) investigates into the relationship between birth position and the individual attributes. The design of the study is a within-family design carried out using cross-sectional survey through the administration of questionnaires.

A proper protocol was followed in the study with the acquisition of approval before research. Several 154 participants were involved in the study, but only 75 included in the study. Unequal distribution of gender was an issue with most participants being female. The strength of this study is indicated by a large number of participants (60 out of 75) requested the results of the research. It proves that participants were genuinely interested in the study and therefore, they would have provided honest answers.

The weakness of this study is the provision of questionnaires may lead to biased results. Participants may feel controlled hence modify the answers they fill in the survey. Another limitation is the small sample size or number of participants, achieving the minimum number of participants would have given a better statistical significance. Importantly, the study evaluates the birth order effects that lead to various personality traits in siblings in a family or siblings within an age gap - the findings from this research show an insignificant correlation between the investigated characteristics and birth order. Due to the small sample size, generalized results were not drawn on the effects of birth position on individual traits.

A study done by Sharon (2014) examines the dispute behind the idea that birth order has profound impacts on an individual's traits, self-regard, and life experiences contentment of participants between the age 18-40 years. The research involved 200 participants through contact and filling online surveys.

It was concluded that birth position has a profound impact on personality traits with no significant differences in other investigated characteristics. However, the effect of birth position on life satisfaction, esteem, and personality has insignificant differences. The study went further to extend previous literature on individual variables on age spacing and the specific environment by ensuring all the participants belonged to a two-parent family set up and uniform age spacing of 0-12 years. Ethical compliance was followed in the research, where every participant was allowed to choose whether or not to take part in the questionnaire.

According to Al-Khayat, & AL-Adwan (2016), it was clear that birth order affects personality traits and academic performance. There is a clear relation between the number of family members and the educational opportunity. The more the number of family members the lower the chance regardless of the birth order, firstborns are an exception. More financial support is directed to the firstborn exposing them to more academic opportunities. However, if the external factors were controlled, the birth order would not affect the child's academic performance. Quantum methodology was used with the application of surveys that fit the nature of study questions.

Data analysis was done using SPSS statistical software. The objective of this study was to create a comprehension of the effects of birth position on academic performance and personality trait. The research involved an examination of 60 families with a sample size of 285 people (Al-Khayat, & AL-Adwan, 2016).


The evaluation of industry vs. inferiority and intimacy vs. Isolation is more entailed in the study. There are various statistical differences regarding birth order arising from the research. The researcher used Erickson's theory in the development of the items of scale. Study variables were; independent variables which were birth order classified into (Oldest, Middle, Youngest, and Lonely), dependent variables were child's personality and academic performance. The study design created a room for the validation of content, and it was clear that the scales showed good test reliability. The scales also were easy to administer and understandable with a high response rate.


Al-Khayat, M. M., & AL-Adwan, F. E. Z. (2016). The Effect of Birth Order on Personality Traits and Academic Performance at Sample of Families in Jordan. European Journal of Social Sciences, 52(2), 151-161.

Black, S. E., Gronqvist, E., & Ockert, B. (2018). Born to lead? The effect of birth order on noncognitive abilities. Review of Economics and Statistics, 100(2), 274-286.

Bleske-Rechek, A., & Kelley, J. A. (2014). Birth order and personality: A within-family test using independent self-reports from both firstborn and laterborn siblings. Personality and Individual Differences, 56, 15-18.

Consten, C. P. (2017). The association between birth order and self-reported personality characteristics of siblings in a within-family design (Master's thesis, University of Twente).

Gustafson, C. (2010). The effects of birth order on personality. Unpublished Master Thesis). The Faculty of the Alfred Adler Graduate School, Minneapolis, ABD.

Johson, S. (2014). Investigating the effects birth order has on personality, self-esteem, satisfaction with life and age.

Morales, A. W., Marks, M. N., & Kumar, R. (1997). Smoking in pregnancy: a study of psychosocial and reproductive risk factors. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 18(4), 247-254.

Rohrer, J. M., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S. C. (2015). Examining the effects of birth order on personality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(46), 14224-14229.

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