Birth Order

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Sociology ・APA ・3 Sources

The recurring stereotype about birth order has been that the eldest child achieves the most and is dictatorial, while the younger children are spoilt and rely on charm to get their rules followed. In the past, it was assumed that birth order would influence an individual's personality. It was stated that the eldest, usually the firstborn, had a good chance of becoming the leader. They are seen to strive for goals because they are concerned about their younger siblings stealing their position and drawing attention away from their parents.Consequently, it was indicated that the youngest feel that they are inexperienced and less capable of performing tasks as expected even a tendency of being rejected. They seem to wait for others to act duties on their behalf as they want to remain the most charming and popular amongst the kids.
More so, those in the middle position fell robed of the opportunity to get all the attention from elders and therefore develop skills that entice others to prevent them from being ignored. As such, the assumptions indicated that the eldest children had upper hand in the ability to succeed as compared to the youngest who waited for things to work in their favor without much of an effort. As such, the assumptions seemed to justify that the firstborns were more superior as compared to other siblings.

Scientific Studies and Findings

Rohrer, Egloff, and Schmukle (2015) analyzed the impact that birth order had on the personality of siblings. The research confirmed the results on the higher scores from objectivity intelligence tests for the firstborns as compared to other siblings. However, a difference was observed through the analysis of their emotional stability, imagination, extraversion, and agreeableness since they found not affected by order of birth (Rohrer, Egloff, & Schmukle, 2015). In this way, the study concluded that there was no association between the prominent scientific theory and lay beliefs related to the rule of birth with the development of personality with little effect from within the boundaries of the family.
Similarly, the research by Pollet et al. (2010) showed contrary results from the popular notion of firstborn being more superior. The study used in-between family design to compare the characteristics portrayed by the firstborn and lastborns. The results showed that the firstborns were less dominant as compared to the lastborns (Pollet et al., 2010). More so, as the study was concerned with identifying the dominance facet that was portrayed in relation to the order of birth, there was an indication of firstborns being less extroverted. In this way, although different from the provided assumption, the study did support that the order of birth had a particular effect on the personality traits of individuals.
On the contrary, another in-between family study by Bleske-Rechek and Kelley (2014) found that there was no relationship between personality and order of birth in the family. The study analyzed a report from both individual children and their parents with none of the results linking their actions to order of delivery. The researchers conclude that the notion could have been based on the subjective experience of children as they are influenced to act by their families (Bleske-Rechek & Kelley, 2014). The environment provided within the home could have been linked to the effect on their development for a specified period in their growth but is not seen to have later an impact on their thoughts and actions which depict their personality. In this way, the belief of birth order fails to be supported by scientific evidence with a character associated with either genetics or environment of development. First, in arguing genetics as an effect on the character, the study showed that siblings respond differently to situations based on their inner drive to respond (Bleske-Rechek & Kelley, 2014). Second, it was affected by the difference in objectives drawn from their non-shared environments. In this way, the study ascertained that the personality of siblings is molded by the interaction of situations outside their maternal homes and not fixed to the conditions surrounding their birth of the order.


The study by Rohrer, Egloff, and Schmukle (2015) employed an empirical research by using information from three large national panels in the US. It intended to resolve the open question in examining the impact of birth order on personality. The database used allowed for the identification of the smallest impact derived from the position of birth for the siblings with a high statistical power emerging from the samples (Rohrer, Egloff, & Schmukle, 2015). The data analyzed included household members between the age 12-16 identified through a random selection (Rohrer, Egloff, & Schmukle, 2015). Children born alone in their family were excluded from the analysis of data. On the other hand, a study by Pollet et al. (2010) used a sample of around 1500 respondents in a between-family design. The study also controlled for potential confounding factors such as the size of the siblings and their age to ensure that the results obtained were reliable (Pollet et al., 2010). Additionally, the survey by Bleske-Rechek & Kelley (2014) used a more extensive scale between-family design using 22 undergraduate students, their siblings and parents that were included in the study. The participants completed a 44-item big five inventory in measuring the different aspects of personality (Bleske-Rechek & Kelley, 2014). The results of the list were then analyzed together with the perception that parents have about their children and the behavior.


Based on the understanding of the myth before, it is astonishing to find out the results of the scientific study. I had heard of the saying from my small community when the elders were indicating that anyone that had achieved must be a firstborn in their family. People had used the saying for a long time such that it had been believed to be accurate making the firstborns to be respected at all times as they were expected to produce better results for whatever they did. They could mostly achieve better and also take up the leadership roles of their family in a better way as compared to the other siblings. Furthermore, it had become popular due to the tendency of people, especially the parents and elders in the community to use it as they complemented those that made achievements through their intelligence.
However, having encountered the scientific research, it is evident that much of what had been said was just stereotype and had not been verified. The analysis gives enough evidence to ascertain that the saying is not true. The research in the paper uses an in-between family study that helps get the perspective of all the siblings and their parents on the order of birth and personality and therefore enough conviction that the results are correct. Though the older kids would have scored higher in the provided intelligence tests but most of the leadership skills and extraversion did not much with the order of birth.


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.
Pollet, T. V., Dijkstra, P., Barelds, D. P., & Buunk, A. P. (2010). Birth order and the dominance aspect of extraversion: Are firstborns more extraverted, in the sense of being dominant, than laterborns? Journal of Research in Personality, 44(6), 742-745.
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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