Effects of Birth Order on Personality.
There are no formulas to help us understand our friends and family. However, birth order research is providing evidence to suggest our personality traits are largely determined by our birth position. Through a persons birth placing, we can predict based their behaviour pattern, way of thinking and emotional response. Your birth order determines your expectations and your strategies for dealing with people.
This essay aims to outline the differences between personalities of the first-born, middle-born and last-born child within families where siblings are blood relations, giving reasons to the trends found. The following paragraphs deal primarily, although not exclusively, with the correlations documented by Frank Sulloway. Psychologists, who have further investigated the topic, taking into account the extraneous variables such as gender, age differences, socio-economic situation and cultural setting, serve as the replicated illustrations to Sulloway's notes. The areas of difference in personality traits between birth placing are discussed with regards to the need for achievement, parental affection and investment, social involvement and creativity.
Achievement, according to Sulloway (1996), is a characteristic most apparent in the personality of a first-born. A study by Antoinette and Carl Phillips (2000) supports Sulloway's findings. Achievement is not only desired by first-borns more than the other birth positions, but the first-borns also take more responsibility for good performance (Phillips et al, 2000). First-borns strive for perfection and accuracy. As the number of siblings in a family increases, academic development of the younger siblings decreases (Parcel & Menaghan cited in Steelman, Powell, Werum, & Carter, 2002). It could be argued that the effect on academic development is due to the spreading of parental resources, however, a study carried out by Russell Travis & Kohli Vandana (1995) negates this notion and illustrates the same pattern over different socio-economic situations.