The Effects of Birth Order on Personality Essay

999 Words 4 Pages
The study of personality is multi-faceted. There are many factors that shape one’s personality, and many definitions of the word itself. Personality has the ability to intensely affect one’s interpersonal relationships in many aspects. One factor of personality that has been studied extensively is birth order. Birth order refers to the numerical place of a person in the order of births in his or her family and how that person fits in the constellation of the family (Ernst & Angst, 9). It has been observed across many studies that members of each rank—oldest, middle, youngest or single children—tend to have similar personalities as members of the same rank (Ernst & Angst, 13-16). It can be presumed that birth order will have an effect on …show more content…
Adler wrote, “The only child has difficulties with every independent activity and sooner or later they become useless in life” (Leman, 155). The middle child is usually tries to achieve unrealistic goals that end in failure. Finally, the youngest tends to strive to out-do older siblings for recognition (Hjelle & Ziegler 196). Walter Toman is a researcher that describes eleven different birth orders: oldest brother of brother(s), youngest brother of brother(s), oldest brother of sister(s), youngest brother of sister(s), the oldest sister of sister(s), the youngest sister of sister(s), the oldest sister of brother(s), the youngest sister of brother(s), middle sibling, the only child, and twins (Toman, 461). This obviously complicates studying the effects of birth order. Many studies, however, do support the variability of the gender of siblings as well as one’s numerical place in the family (Toman, 334). Despite all the variability and complications within the study of birth order, more recent studies than the Adler and Angst studies are showing similarities in results. One particular study by Leman focuses on the effect of birth order in marriage success. Leman suggested that the least compatible birth order pairs are those within the same birth order (e.g., two first-borns). He suggests that the roles one will fulfill in marriage are developed during childhood. As discussed earlier, each birth order has its own role within

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