Birth Order Term Paper 1-3-1 Essay Outline
(The sheer number of studies on birth order is a testimony to the importance of this topic in psychology.)Taking his lead from the original birth order theorist, Alfred Adler (a one-time disciple of Freud), Stewart distinguished between “actual” birth order, or ABO (the numerical rank order into which you are born in your family of origin) and “psychological” birth order, or PBO (self-perceived position in the family).Right away, you’ve probably learned something useful: Your actual birth order need not have the same impact on you as the birth order you believe you have.Perhaps you’ve come to believe the myths both within your family and in psychology as a whole that your character, values, achievement strivings, and life success are determined by the family position that fate, and your parents, awarded to you.Psychology goes through periods of alternatively accepting and rejecting these myths.As explained by Stewart, using Adler’s framework, the firstborn child (or one with the “oldest” role) would be most likely to take on a leadership position, to like it when people stick to rules and order, and to strive toward achievement goals.The firstborn may be sensitive to being “dethroned” by younger sibs who drain away the attention of parents that the firstborn enjoyed before they came along.Stewart, who wrote what is perhaps the definitive recent work (2012) on the theory and research on birth order.He bases his paper on 529 journal articles published over a 20-year period.
What about step-siblings, half-siblings, and siblings who don’t even know that the other one exists? Parents vary in their ages and in the ages they were when they had their children.
Finally, the only child scale tapped those feelings of pressure (“I felt like I lived in a fishbowl”). Let’s see whether PBO trumps ABO, as Stewart’s model would predict. irrational relationship beliefs, perfectionism, and personality—in each case, the extent of the relationships with PBO were not overwhelmingly large, but they were measurable. Stewart’s study shows that we’re not fated to live out a life dominated by the accident of the timing of our birth.
You can’t change your actual birth order, but you can change the way you think about your role in the family.
In part, this was because they lacked statistical methods available now, but also because they focused on ABO (i.e. The PBOI contains items to assess all birth order positions in the family that individuals rate on an agree-disagree scale.
Firstborn items on the PBOI tap feelings of being powerful, important, leading, and achieving (“It was important for me to do things right”).