郭嫚容Mandy Kuo 100501042莊秉霖 Wendy Chuang



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Running Head: Is Second-born Child More Extroverted?

In a Two-child Family, Is the Second-born Child More Extroverted Than the First-born Child?

100501015郭嫚容Mandy Kuo

100501042莊秉霖 Wendy Chuang

100501051施柔安 Anna Shih

100501006潘禹澔Oscar Pan

100501018方德容Ruby Fang
Instructor: Prof. Michael Cheng
National Chengchi University
2013

Abstract


Many studies have examined the influence of birth order on personality and indicated that later-borns are more extroverted than first-borns. According to Sulloway (1999), birth order effects are modified by gender, age spacing and other factors. Using self-reports from a sample of 144 Taiwanese college students from two-child family and including all possible combinations of age spacing and gender; the present study aimed to investigate the correlation between birth order effects and the aforesaid two factors, and see if second-borns are more socially extroverted than first-borns. Generally, second-borns rate higher than first-borns on extroversion as predicted. The results also suggested that age spacing has more significant influence on extroversion than gender does. The discussion addresses limitations of the methodology and presents directions for future research.

Literature Review

  1. Birth Order and Personality

The correlation between birth order and personality has been widely discussed. Many studies have shown that birth order does influence the development of personality; however, there are differences between those studies and assertions.

Alfred Adler, the pioneer of the birth order research, and the psychologist Kevin Leman, both proposed and theorized that each birth position has a set of personality traits (Milliren, Evans, & Newbauer). They asserted that birth order's influence on personality is undeniable; therefore it helps us understand the reason behind one's personality (Ha and Tam, 2011). Different from Adler and Leman, the other dominant scholar in this field, Frank Sulloway of the University of California, Berkeley and the author of Born to Rebel, stated the effects of birth order on personality development with other factors, such as age spacing and gender. He said that a child's personality is not solely determined by biology— "It's the role siblings adopt that leads to difference in behavior" (HELLO! Magazine, 2012). All of them believed the position in the birth order is not deterministic but provides probabilities of particular types of experiences the child will have (Ha and Tam).

In the studies of Adler and Leman, although numerous factors would indicate exceptions, there are some general characteristics of various birth order positions (Ha and Tam, 2011). First-borns are perfectionists, leaders and responsibility takers but also more conservative (Leman, 2004). They are often model children, having a strong need for approval from anyone in charge (Neal, 2009). Middle children, feeling squeezed and having difficulties finding their positions in the family, usually develop characteristics opposite of the first-borns and fight to stay ahead of their siblings (Milliren et al.; Ha and Tam). Also, they are usually the "peace-keeper", getting along well with other people (Leman; Neal). In contrast to first-borns and middle children, last-born children are often seen as pampered and spoiled because they are often the center of attention in their family. Last-borns are social, outgoing, adventurous and attention seekers.

Looking at Sulloway's research, unlike the previous two scholars, he mainly focused on the first-borns and later-borns, with no distinguished traits for each position. Sulloway analyzed the personality of first-borns and later-borns by using the Five Factor Model. Results showed that first-borns are more conscientious in the sense of being more responsible and ambitious. Later-borns tend to be more agreeable and open to experience. Sulloway also pointed out that both first-borns and later-borns have extroverted traits, but in different dimensions. First-borns are more dominant whereas later-borns appear greater sociability. Sulloway then demonstrated “direct sibling comparison”. Birth-order effects are usually not significant when measured by self-accessed questionnaires. But differences are found when respondents are asked to compare with their siblings. Sulloway gave the examples of surveying 660 business CEOs and a study of 6053 individuals. Birth order differences are shown when using the “direct sibling comparison” method (Sulloway, 1999).

According to Sulloway (1999), “the consequences of birth order are often strongly dependent on the behavioral context”. In different situations, the same person may give different reaction and behave differently. Social categories, such as age, gender, marital status and socioeconomic status, will influence a person’s behavior. From the survey he provided, college students’ responses did not match the theorized traits of birth order, while the older respondents did. In sum, “situation” influences more on traits of birth order differences than just the ranks children born in their family (Sulloway). And as children grow up, the influence of peer groups and life experience will reflect more than genetic differences on them.

However, some critics have lashed out at Sulloway’s theory. One of the critics, Judith Rich Harris, an American psychologist, has questioned his research, using arguments of the differences between modern and past families and the problem of only children (Connor and Usborne, 2007).




  1. Age Spacing and Birth Order

Age spacing is an important factor that contributes to birth order effects. When the age spacing is either too small or too large, the influence of birth order turns out less significant (Sulloway, 1999). In light of the demands on parents to give attention and resources, Kidwell (1976, 1981) marked out three different models of age spacing: less than one year, more than five years, and between one and five years. Basically, personality traits that are associated with birth order are derived from the competition for parental resources. So when the age spacing is less than one year and more than five years, the demands on parental attention and resources to the siblings are minimized, and thus birth order effects wouldn’t show significantly (Healey, 2008).

In addition to the above models, based on siblings’ interaction and effect upon each other, Gray (1984) outlined the other kind of models and did his birth order research according to the following age spacing: less than two years, three to fives years, and more than six years. Koch (1955) found that a gap of 0-2 years made siblings more alike. Children who were closely spaced were more likely to be playmates and seemed lonelier without the other, while siblings 4-6 years apart had much less effect upon each other.

Age spacing plays a part in personal varieties as well. Siblings spaced within two years of each other both tended to be more reserved. The older mid-spaced (3-5) sibling appeared to be outgoing, assertive and tough-minded, whereas the younger mid-spaced sibling tended to be trusting. In contrast, the older far-spaced (more than six) sibling was more timid, and the younger sibling tended to be more outgoing and assertive (Gray, 1984).

Though the correlation between age spacing and personality haven’t been validated, age spacing is sufficient to cause a disparity, at least in the siblings’ perceptions in the distribution of parental resources (Healey, 2008).




  1. Gender and Birth Order

The gender of the child and of the sibling also needs to be taken into account when examining the influence of birth order. Gender and birth order have some parallel influences on personality, especially on extroversion and agreeableness. Females and later-borns tend to be less aggressive than males and first-borns; males and first-borns tend to be more assertive and tough-minded, whereas females and later-borns are more tender-minded and cooperative (Sulloway, 1999). Women are also found to be more agreeable, extroverted, and neurotic than their brothers (Hauser, Kuo, and Cartmill, 1999).

In addition, the gender of the siblings was particularly important in the two sibling group, in which sibling rivalry was most intense. According to Gray’s (1984) analysis: Females in the two sibling group were slightly more outgoing than males, older siblings with younger sisters were more outgoing than those with younger brothers, first-borns with a younger brother tended to be more venturesome and more trusting than those with younger sisters, and second-borns with an older brother tended to be more tender-minded than those with an older sister.

Though several studies obtain similar conclusion, there’s little evidence of a birth order effect on agreeableness, and no visible differences by birth order in the distributions of personality variables within gender. Because of its sub-facets, the correlations between gender and birth order are still inconclusive. We could only reach some possible explanations from specific socialization practices. Such as the first-born male has identification with his father, and the first-born female has more domestic duties; as a result, first-born males and second-born females exhibit higher extroversion (McCormick and Baer, 1975).


  1. Studies in Taiwan

In Taiwan, in a traditional family, much pressure and even more expectations are placed upon the eldest child. Therefore, the eldest child is more likely to develop nurturing and caring traits (Huang, 2012). However, due to suddenly having to share resources and attention after the second child is born, first-borns are also more prone to sibling conflict. Last-borns are usually more passive within the family but may develop low self-esteem if constantly shadowed by older siblings (Huang).

In a recent study done on elementary school students, Huang (2012) found that first-borns are shown to be more considerate and more prone to report their safety to adults than middle children. An example of reporting safety may be calling home to tell parents when they will get there. However, in the areas of communicativeness, independence and willpower, there was no significant difference between different birth orders (Huang, Lee, & Shen, 2009).

In the study of Chen (2003), he pointed out that junior high school students’ social skills significantly differ with birth order variance. But, in another research done by Chuang (1994), birth order does not have an influence on children's social interest and personal adjustment.


  1. Definition of Extroverted

According to Sulloway (1999), “extroverted” appears in first-borns and later-borns has different dimensions. First-borns are more extroverted in the sense of being assertive and dominant, whereas later-borns are more extroverted in the sense of being sociable and fun-loving.

From the literature review, we found out that Adler and Leman’s research mainly focused on “birth order” itself. Sulloway, however, came up with factors other than the influence of birth order, such as gender and age gap. In Taiwan, similar experiments focus more on elementary and junior high school students. Our team wants to see if Sulloway’s findings suit the situation among Taiwanese college students. Since there are more two-child families in Taiwan nowadays and there is issue regarding questionnaire acquisition, we decide to target college students from two-child family for our research. Combining gender and age-spacing factors, we would like to know whether second-borns are socially extroverted just as the literature has said.


Method

  1. Choice of Survey Respondents

Target Respondents: Individuals from two-child family

Our target respondents are individuals from two-child family. We had narrowed down the respondents to college students who mainly aged from 18 to 24. Co-educational college schools were chosen in order to include both genders in the study for the determination of the influence of gender. The survey was conducted in several co-educational college schools. After several weeks of experiment, we received responds of 322 respondents. We excluded 178 invalid respondents which are irrelevant to our research. Therefore, 144 valid respondents were taken into account in our research. (Please consult the appendix for the questionnaire.)




  1. The Experiment

  1. The Design of Experiment

The questionnaire is divided in two parts. The basic information of gender, age, siblings and family forms is included in the first part. In the second part, questions measuring extroversion and introversion as personality dimensions in applied settings are listed. They are based on Eysenck’s (1973) short questionnaire and the edited version from Taiwan of Douglas N. Jackson’s Basic Personality Inventory (1999). We designed the questionnaire online and posted it on the Internet so that we can collect widespread data from different kinds of students.

  1. The Collection of Data

The questionnaire was posted on the famous social networking site, Facebook. We distributed the questionnaire to different school groups and it took us three weeks to reach the goal respondents.

  1. The Analysis of Data

We consider three factors in the experiment: sibling number, gender and age gap. First, the data is sorted to two categories according to the sibling number of each family (two-child, and three or four-child family). We only take the data from two-child families into account because it fits our experiment. Then, the data is classified by gender of the respondents and their siblings into four minor groups. The four groups are female-female, male-male, female-male and male-female. Each minor group is further divided into three small groups in accordance to the age gap between siblings. We consult the classification by Gray (1984). The age gaps include small (0-2 years), medium (3-5 years) and large (6 years or more). With 12 small groups, we compare each respondent’s questionnaire score.

There are 20 questions regarding to personality in the extroversion and introversion dimensions in the questionnaire. The questions are based on Eysenck’s A Short Questionnaire for the Measurement of Two Dimensions of Personality (1973) and the Taiwanese version of Jackson’s BPI (1999). Both questionnaires have reliability higher than 0.7. With their prestigious fame, both questionnaires are constantly used in medical services and professional consultation. We selected appropriate questions to suit our theme. There are a total of 20 points in the questionnaire; the higher the score is, the more extroverted one is.

In order to determine that first-born children in two-child family are more introverted than second-born, we calculated the score of every respondent in each group to make a comparison.
Findings

Since our research is aimed at the second-born children in a two-child family, we classified all the valid data into several groups and try to find out if second-born children are more extroverted than first-born children, which is our hypothesis, under the influences of gender and age spacing.

Following is our analysis of data.


  1. Total Sample

Table.1a

Total Sample Size

Score 1-9

11

17%

Score 10-11

15

24%

Score 12-20

38

59%

Total

64




According to Table.1a, 59% of the second-born children tend to be extroverted.

Table.1b


Total Sample Size

Score 1-9

21

26%

Score 10-11

10

12%

Score 12-20

49

61%

Total

80

 

According to Table.1b, 61% of the first-born children tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-borns is 15.18, and the first-borns is 14.86.


  1. Gender

  1. Male – Male

Table.2a Male – Male

Gender--male/ male

Score 1-9

1

11%

Score 10-11

2

22%

Score 12-20

6

67%

Total

9

 

According to Table.2a, 67% of the second-born males who have an older brother tend to be extroverted.

Table.2b Male – Male



Gender--male/ male

Score 1-9

3

16%

Score 10-11

1

5%

Score 12-20

15

79%

Total

19

 

According to Table.2b, 79% of the first-born males who have a younger brother tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born males is 15, and the first-born males is 15.16.


  1. Male – Female

Table.3a Male – Female

Gender--male/ female

Score 1-9

6

21%

Score 10-11

6

21%

Score 12-20

17

58%

Total

29




According to Table.3a, 58% of the second-born females who have an older brother tend to be extroverted.

Table.3b Male – Female



Gender--male/ female

Score 1-9

2

18%

Score 10-11

2

18%

Score 12-20

7

64%

Total

11




According to Table.3b, 64% of the first-born males who have a younger sister tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born females is 15.47, and the first-born males is 14.86.


  1. Female- Female

Table.4a Female – Female

Gender--female/ female

Score 1-9

3

22%

Score 10-11

3

21%

Score 12-20

8

57%

Total

14




According to Table.4a, 57% of the second-born females who have an older sister tend to be extroverted.

Table.4b Female – Female



Gender--female/ female

Score 1-9

8

36%

Score 10-11

3

14%

Score 12-20

11

50%

Total

22




According to Table.4b, 50% of the first-born females who have a younger sister tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born females is 15.25, and the first-born females is 13.82.


  1. Female- Male

Table.5a Female –Male

Gender--female/ male

Score 1-9

1

8%

Score 10-11

4

34%

Score 12-20

7

58%

Total

12




According to Table.5a, 58% of the second-born males who have an older sister tend to be extroverted.

Table.5b Female –Male



Gender--female/ male

Score 1-9

8

29%

Score 10-11

4

14%

Score 12-20

16

57%

Total

28




According to Table.5b, 57% of the first-born females who have a younger brother tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born males is 14.57, and the first-born females is 15.81.


  1. Age Spacing

  1. Age Spacing-- 0-2

Table.6a Age Spacing-- 0-2

Age Spacing-- 0-2

Score 1-9

6

21%

Score 10-11

4

14%

Score 12-20

19

65%

Total

29




According to Table.6a, 65% of the second-born children who are 0-2 years younger than his sibling tend to be extroverted

Table.6b Age Spacing-- 0-2



Age Spacing-- 0-2

Score 1-9

13

35%

Score 10-11

4

11%

Score 12-20

20

54%

Total

37




According to Table.6b, 54% of the first-born children who are 0-2 years younger than his sibling tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-borns is 15.68, and the first-borns is 15.1.


  1. Age Spacing—3-5

Table.7a Age Spacing—3-5

Age Spacing-- 3-5

Score 1-9

4

14%

Score 10-11

11

38%

Score 12-20

14

48%

Total

29




According to Table.7a, 48% of the second-born children who are 3-5 years younger than his sibling tend to be extroverted.

Table.7b Age Spacing—3-5



Age Spacing-- 3-5

Score 1-9

7

17%

Score 10-11

5

12%

Score 12-20

28

70%

Total

40




According to Table.7b, 70% of the first-born children who are 3-5 years younger than his sibling tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-borns is 14.36, and the first-borns is 15.32.


  1. Age Spacing— above 6

Table.8a Age Spacing—above 6

Age Spacing-- above 6

Score 1-9

1

17%

Score 10-11

0

0%

Score 12-20

5

83%

Total

6




According to Table.8a, 83% of the second-born children who are 6 or more than 6 years younger than his sibling tend to be extroverted.

Table.8b Age Spacing—above 6



Age Spacing-- above 6

Score 1-9

1

33%

Score 10-11

1

33%

Score 12-20

1

33%

Total

3




According to Table.8b, 33% of the first-born children who are 6 or more than 6 years younger than his sibling tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-borns is 15.6, and the first-borns is 12.


  1. Gender + Age Spacing

  1. Male-Male

  1. Male-Male (0-2)

Table.9a Male-Male (0-2)

Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ male (0-2)

Score 1-9

0

0%

Score 10-11

1

50%

Score 12-20

1

50%

Total

2




According to Table.9a, 50% of the second-born males who are 0-2 years younger than his older brother tend to be extroverted.

Table.9b Male-Male (0-2)



Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ male (0-2)

Score 1-9

1

11%

Score 10-11

1

11%

Score 12-20

7

78%

Total

9




According to Table.9b, 78% of the first-born males who are 0-2 years older than his younger brother tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born males is 13, and the first-born males is 15.29.


  1. Male-Male (3-5)

Table.10a Male-Male (3-5)

Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ male (3-5)

Score 1-9

1

16%

Score 10-11

1

17%

Score 12-20

4

67%

Total

6




According to Table.10a, 67% of the second-born males who are 3-5 years younger than his older brother tend to be extroverted.

Table.10b Male-Male (3-5)



Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ male (3-5)

Score 1-9

2

20%

Score 10-11

0

0%

Score 12-20

8

80%

Total

10




According to Table.10b, 80% of the second-born males who are 3-5 years older than his younger brother tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born males is 14.75, and the first-born males is 15.88.


  1. Male-Male (above 6)

Table.11a Male-Male (above 6)

Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ male (above 6)

Score 1-9

0

0%

Score 10-11

0

0%

Score 12-20

1

100%

Total

1




According to Table.11a, all second-born male who is 6 or more than 6 years younger than his older brother tends to be extroverted.
There is no statistics of the first-borns in this category.
The average extroverted score of the second-born males is 18.


  1. Male/ Female

  1. Male/ Female (0-2)

Table.12a Male-Female (0-2)

Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ female (0-2)

Score 1-9

3

20%

Score 10-11

1

7%

Score 12-20

11

73%

Total

15




According to Table.12a, 73% of the second-born females who are 0-2 years younger than her older brother tend to be extroverted.

Table.12b Male-Female (0-2)



Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ female (0-2)

Score 1-9

1

25%

Score 10-11

1

25%

Score 12-20

2

50%

Total

4




According to Table.12b, 50% of the first-born males who are 0-2 years older than his younger sister tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born females is 16, and the first-born males is 15.5.


  1. Male/ Female (3-5)

Table.13a Male-Female (3-5)

Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ female (3-5)

Score 1-9

3

21%

Score 10-11

5

36%

Score 12-20

6

43%

Total

14




According to Table.13a, 43% of the second-born females who are 3-5 years younger than her older brother tend to be extroverted.

Table.13b Male-Female (3-5)



Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ female (3-5)

Score 1-9

1

17%

Score 10-11

1

17%

Score 12-20

4

67%

Total

6




According to Table.13b, 67% of the first-born males who are 0-2 years older than his younger sister tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born females is 14.5, and the first-born males is 15.25.


  1. Male/ Female (above 6)

There is no statistics of the second-borns in this category.
Table.14b Male-Female (above 6)

Gender + Age Spacing-- male/ female (above 6)

Score 1-9

0

0%

Score 10-11

0

0%

Score 12-20

1

100%

Total

1




According to Table.14b, all first-born male who is 6 or more than 6 years older than his younger sister tends to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the first-born males is 12.


  1. Female/ Female

  1. Female/ Female (0-2)

Table.15a Female-Female (0-2)

Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ female (0-2)

Score 1-9

2

29%

Score 10-11

1

14%

Score 12-20

4

57%

Total

7




According to Table.15a, 57% of the second-born females who are 0-2 years younger than her older sister tend to be extroverted.

Table.15b Female-Female (0-2)



Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ female (0-2)

Score 1-9

6

46%

Score 10-11

1

8%

Score 12-20

6

46%

Total

13




According to Table.15b, 46% of the first-born females who are 0-2 years older than her younger sister tend to be extroverted, while an equal percentage tends to be introverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born females is 15.75, and the first-born females is 14.


  1. Female/ Female (3-5)

Table.16a Female-Female (3-5)

Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ female (3-5)

Score 1-9

0

0%

Score 10-11

2

67%

Score 12-20

1

33%

Total

3




According to Table.16a, 33% of the second-born females who are 3-5 years younger than her older sister tend to be extroverted.

Table.16b Female-Female (3-5)



Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ female (3-5)

Score 1-9

2

22%

Score 10-11

2

22%

Score 12-20

5

56%

Total

9




According to Table.16b, 56% of the first-born females who are 3-5 years older than her younger sister tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born females is 14, and the first-born females is 13.6.


  1. Female/ Female (above 6)

Table.17a Female-Female (above 6)

Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ female (above 6)

Score 1-9

1

25%

Score 10-11

0

0%

Score 12-20

3

75%

Total

4




According to Table.17a, 75% of the second-born females who are 6 or more than 6 years younger than her older sister tend to be extroverted.

There is no statistics of the first-borns in this category.


The average extroverted score of the second-born females is 15.


  1. Female/Male

  1. Female/Male (0-2)

Table.18a Female/Male (0-2)

Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ male (0-2)

Score 1-9

1

20%

Score 10-11

1

20%

Score 12-20

3

60%

Total

5




According to Table.18a, 60% of the second-born males who are 0-2 years younger than her older sister tend to be extroverted.

Table.18b Female/Male (0-2)



Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ male (0-2)

Score 1-9

5

45%

Score 10-11

1

9%

Score 12-20

5

45%

Total

11




According to Table.18b, 45% of the first-born females who are 0-2 years older than her younger brother tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born males is 15.33, and the first-born females is 16.


  1. Female/Male (3-5)

Table.19a Female/Male (3-5)

Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ male (3-5)

Score 1-9

0

0%

Score 10-11

3

50%

Score 12-20

3

50%

Total

6




According to Table.19a, 50% of the second-born males who are 3-5 years younger than her older sister tend to be extroverted.

Table.19b Female/Male (3-5)



Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ male (3-5)

Score 1-9

2

13%

Score 10-11

2

13%

Score 12-20

11

73%

Total

15




According to Table.19b, 73% of the first-born females who are 3-5 years older than her younger brother tend to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born males is 13.67, and the first-born females is 15.73.


  1. Female/Male (above 6)

Table.20a Female/Male (above 6)

Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ male (above 6)

Score 1-9

0

0%

Score 10-11

0

0%

Score 12-20

1

100%

Total

1




According to Table.20a, all second-born male who is 6 or more than 6 years younger than their older sisters tends to be extroverted.

Table.20b Female/Male (above 6)



Gender + Age Spacing-- female/ male (above 6)

Score 1-9

1

50%

Score 10-11

1

50%

Score 12-20

0

0%

Total

2




According to Table.20b, none of the first-born female who is 6 or more than 6 years older than her younger brother tends to be extroverted.
The average extroverted score of the second-born males is 15.

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