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An evaluation into birth order, gender and their relation to personality traits

Mawson, Marsha (2013) An evaluation into birth order, gender and their relation to personality traits. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In Psychology, birth order has remained a controversial issue with regards to its suspected link to personality. By using a quantitative questionnaire, the present research aimed to reveal whether an individual’s birth order and gender pre-positions them to develop certain behaviours. With reference to existing literature, specific traits thought to be connected to birth ranks were measured. 90 participants from first (N=30), middle (N=30) and last (N=30) ranks of birth and both genders were measured on leadership, self-esteem and rebelliousness. Participants were recruited from three child families and consisted of 45 males and 45 females. A 2x3 ANOVA indicated a significant main effect of birth order on all three personality traits. However, a significant main effect of gender was only found for rebelliousness. Subsequently, three participants engaged in a semi-structured interview which disclosed self-report experiences influenced by birth order and gender. The data were then transcribed and analysed in a thematic manner. Thematic analysis revealed 4 master themes: acceptance of the self, personal feelings, stereotypes and personal experiences. Such analysis allowed exploration of questionnaire findings, adding a qualitative outlook to results. Developed themes can be applied to previous research on the treatment of individuals.

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