The Effects of Birth Order on Anxiety in College Students
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
WILKINSON, K. E. (2002). The Effects of Birth Order on Anxiety in College Students. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 5. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved December 11, 2017 .

The Effects of Birth Order on Anxiety in College Students
KRISTIE E. WILKINSON
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY NEW ORLEANS DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: MUKUL BHALLA (bhalla@loyno.edu)
ABSTRACT
The purpose of the present research was to determine if birth order had any effect on the amount of anxiety felt in a person’s daily life. It was hypothesized that oldest born children would experience the most anxiety, last born children would experience less than the first borns, and only children would have the least when compared to all other birth orders. The methodology included using a convenience sample at Loyola University New Orleans. There were 94 students who participated, including 21 males and 73 females. A brief symptoms survey was used to determine levels of anxiety experienced in college students over the past month. The middle borns of this study actually had the lowest level of anxiety but only by a small margin. The results were not significant, which does not support any of what was hypothesized.


INTRODUCTION
People have a way of defining themselves through birth order. Every person who comes into the world came in some kind of order, whether they were their parent’s first, second or third child and so on. This factor may not be as physically obvious as gender or race, but it does have the potential to alter the way people react in certain environments. Many studies have been done with the intent to determine whether the order in which they come into the world has any effect on how they react in everyday situations. The overall belief is that children of different birth orders may have been raised differently and have had different challenges in their lives, which would ultimately alter the way they live their life. Past research on topics relating to this have tried to find common behaviors between people of the same order of birth. Research has shown that first-born children are more adult oriented and tend to have more pressure put on them, causing more stress, guilt and anxiety, but only children are achievement oriented with a better overall personality (Santrock, 2002). Adler was an important researcher who found that birth order is an important factor in a person’s personality (“http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html). He thought that first-borns are kings and queens of their family as the only children, and they receive all the attention, when another child is born into the family, Adler refers to this process as “dethroning”. With more than one child there is competition among them, the younger is at a disadvantage and will try harder to overcome their older sibling. In their review of Sulloway’s (1996) study, Freese, Powell, and Steelman (1999) sought to examine whether Sulloway’s findings were correct. Sulloway found that birth order predicted these attitudes better than race, gender, or class, which were previous factors. To test this, Freese, Powell, and Steelman used historical data from the General Social Survey, which asked questions about social attitudes. Once Sulloway’s work was reviewed, however, the writers found that the other factors were stronger measures than birth order (Freese, Powell, and Steelman 1999). Gates, Lineberger, Crockett, and Hubbard (1988) conducted a study with 404 children between the ages of 7 and 12 and gave them a series of surveys to test their levels of depression, state trait anxiety, and self esteem. They found that first-borns had lower anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem. Other research has given support towards the idea that there may be no true relationship between the order in which one is born and the anxiety they experience. Jacoby (1968) gave out a survey to 120 Introduction to Psychology students equally divided into males and females testing their anxiety before being manipulated in the study and after, in order to decide if anxiety is a result of birth order or situation. Manipulation is explained in the article only that the subjects were randomly assigned to the three groups including, high anxiety, mild anxiety, and controls. His study had no significant conclusions. Schacter’s study as described in the article written by Weller (1962), involved giving his two groups varying warnings about an electric shock they were about to experience. The high anxiety group was told that they would experience a shock that would hurt, but it would not cause permanent damage and the low anxiety group was told they would experience a few mild shocks. Weller’s study would exactly replicate that study but contradict Schacter’s findings, giving further reason to doubt the correlation between the two variables. Weller tried to replicate Schacter’s study, Weller (1962) tested 234 freshman and sophomore college women who were put into two groups of high anxiety condition and low anxiety condition, in the same way that Schacter did. He expected to find that first-borns would react with higher anxiety when exposed to a seemingly higher anxiety situation but this was not the case. There have been studies that support the idea that first-borns do have more anxiety when compared to non first-borns. Zucker, Manosevitz, and Lanyon (1968) found themselves in a special situation when New York City experienced a citywide blackout. After the blackout, the researchers approached people throughout New York City who had experienced the blackout and asked 65 men and 35 women between the ages of 17 and 70 to fill out a questionnaire asking about their levels of anxiety they had during the blackout and also their need for affiliation, in other words, wanting to have a companion during the crisis. Zucker et al. (1968) did find that the first-borns that they tested reported more anxiety than any other group, as they had predicted but were surprised to find that first-borns had no significant difference in the need to affiliate. McDonald and Carroll (1981) asked 29 males and 71 female undergraduate students ranging in age between 18 and 44 years old to outline their family constellation it included indicating expected family relationships and their age, the number of siblings they have, and the ages of those siblings. They were also given questions from the fear of death scale to measure death anxiety. McDonald and Carroll found that First-borns and only children had higher death anxiety when compared to all other groups of birth order. There are many contradictions in this particular field of psychology. In order to further explore the belief that firstborn children will be more affected by stress and anxiety than non-firstborns, this study looked at this affect as felt in college students. This study hypothesized that if a college student were a firstborn child; they would report more anxiety when compared to non-firstborn children. If a student were the last-born in their family they would have the lowest levels of anxiety when compared to non-lastborn children. Only children would have the lowest level of anxiety when compared to all other birth orders. The independent variable was the order in which the participant was born within their family and the dependent variable will be anxiety. Levels of anxiety were based on the participant’s answers to a survey.


INTRODUCTION
People have a way of defining themselves through birth order. Every person who comes into the world came in some kind of order, whether they were their parent’s first, second or third child and so on. This factor may not be as physically obvious as gender or race, but it does have the potential to alter the way people react in certain environments. Many studies have been done with the intent to determine whether the order in which they come into the world has any effect on how they react in everyday situations. The overall belief is that children of different birth orders may have been raised differently and have had different challenges in their lives, which would ultimately alter the way they live their life. Past research on topics relating to this have tried to find common behaviors between people of the same order of birth. Research has shown that first-born children are more adult oriented and tend to have more pressure put on them, causing more stress, guilt and anxiety, but only children are achievement oriented with a better overall personality (Santrock, 2002). Adler was an important researcher who found that birth order is an important factor in a person’s personality (“http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html). He thought that first-borns are kings and queens of their family as the only children, and they receive all the attention, when another child is born into the family, Adler refers to this process as “dethroning”. With more than one child there is competition among them, the younger is at a disadvantage and will try harder to overcome their older sibling. In their review of Sulloway’s (1996) study, Freese, Powell, and Steelman (1999) sought to examine whether Sulloway’s findings were correct. Sulloway found that birth order predicted these attitudes better than race, gender, or class, which were previous factors. To test this, Freese, Powell, and Steelman used historical data from the General Social Survey, which asked questions about social attitudes. Once Sulloway’s work was reviewed, however, the writers found that the other factors were stronger measures than birth order (Freese, Powell, and Steelman 1999). Gates, Lineberger, Crockett, and Hubbard (1988) conducted a study with 404 children between the ages of 7 and 12 and gave them a series of surveys to test their levels of depression, state trait anxiety, and self esteem. They found that first-borns had lower anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem. Other research has given support towards the idea that there may be no true relationship between the order in which one is born and the anxiety they experience. Jacoby (1968) gave out a survey to 120 Introduction to Psychology students equally divided into males and females testing their anxiety before being manipulated in the study and after, in order to decide if anxiety is a result of birth order or situation. Manipulation is explained in the article only that the subjects were randomly assigned to the three groups including, high anxiety, mild anxiety, and controls. His study had no significant conclusions. Schacter’s study as described in the article written by Weller (1962), involved giving his two groups varying warnings about an electric shock they were about to experience. The high anxiety group was told that they would experience a shock that would hurt, but it would not cause permanent damage and the low anxiety group was told they would experience a few mild shocks. Weller’s study would exactly replicate that study but contradict Schacter’s findings, giving further reason to doubt the correlation between the two variables. Weller tried to replicate Schacter’s study, Weller (1962) tested 234 freshman and sophomore college women who were put into two groups of high anxiety condition and low anxiety condition, in the same way that Schacter did. He expected to find that first-borns would react with higher anxiety when exposed to a seemingly higher anxiety situation but this was not the case. There have been studies that support the idea that first-borns do have more anxiety when compared to non first-borns. Zucker, Manosevitz, and Lanyon (1968) found themselves in a special situation when New York City experienced a citywide blackout. After the blackout, the researchers approached people throughout New York City who had experienced the blackout and asked 65 men and 35 women between the ages of 17 and 70 to fill out a questionnaire asking about their levels of anxiety they had during the blackout and also their need for affiliation, in other words, wanting to have a companion during the crisis. Zucker et al. (1968) did find that the first-borns that they tested reported more anxiety than any other group, as they had predicted but were surprised to find that first-borns had no significant difference in the need to affiliate. McDonald and Carroll (1981) asked 29 males and 71 female undergraduate students ranging in age between 18 and 44 years old to outline their family constellation it included indicating expected family relationships and their age, the number of siblings they have, and the ages of those siblings. They were also given questions from the fear of death scale to measure death anxiety. McDonald and Carroll found that First-borns and only children had higher death anxiety when compared to all other groups of birth order. There are many contradictions in this particular field of psychology. In order to further explore the belief that firstborn children will be more affected by stress and anxiety than non-firstborns, this study looked at this affect as felt in college students. This study hypothesized that if a college student were a firstborn child; they would report more anxiety when compared to non-firstborn children. If a student were the last-born in their family they would have the lowest levels of anxiety when compared to non-lastborn children. Only children would have the lowest level of anxiety when compared to all other birth orders. The independent variable was the order in which the participant was born within their family and the dependent variable will be anxiety. Levels of anxiety were based on the participant’s answers to a survey.


INTRODUCTION
People have a way of defining themselves through birth order. Every person who comes into the world came in some kind of order, whether they were their parent’s first, second or third child and so on. This factor may not be as physically obvious as gender or race, but it does have the potential to alter the way people react in certain environments. Many studies have been done with the intent to determine whether the order in which they come into the world has any effect on how they react in everyday situations. The overall belief is that children of different birth orders may have been raised differently and have had different challenges in their lives, which would ultimately alter the way they live their life. Past research on topics relating to this have tried to find common behaviors between people of the same order of birth. Research has shown that first-born children are more adult oriented and tend to have more pressure put on them, causing more stress, guilt and anxiety, but only children are achievement oriented with a better overall personality (Santrock, 2002). Adler was an important researcher who found that birth order is an important factor in a person’s personality (“http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html). He thought that first-borns are kings and queens of their family as the only children, and they receive all the attention, when another child is born into the family, Adler refers to this process as “dethroning”. With more than one child there is competition among them, the younger is at a disadvantage and will try harder to overcome their older sibling. In their review of Sulloway’s (1996) study, Freese, Powell, and Steelman (1999) sought to examine whether Sulloway’s findings were correct. Sulloway found that birth order predicted these attitudes better than race, gender, or class, which were previous factors. To test this, Freese, Powell, and Steelman used historical data from the General Social Survey, which asked questions about social attitudes. Once Sulloway’s work was reviewed, however, the writers found that the other factors were stronger measures than birth order (Freese, Powell, and Steelman 1999). Gates, Lineberger, Crockett, and Hubbard (1988) conducted a study with 404 children between the ages of 7 and 12 and gave them a series of surveys to test their levels of depression, state trait anxiety, and self esteem. They found that first-borns had lower anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem. Other research has given support towards the idea that there may be no true relationship between the order in which one is born and the anxiety they experience. Jacoby (1968) gave out a survey to 120 Introduction to Psychology students equally divided into males and females testing their anxiety before being manipulated in the study and after, in order to decide if anxiety is a result of birth order or situation. Manipulation is explained in the article only that the subjects were randomly assigned to the three groups including, high anxiety, mild anxiety, and controls. His study had no significant conclusions. Schacter’s study as described in the article written by Weller (1962), involved giving his two groups varying warnings about an electric shock they were about to experience. The high anxiety group was told that they would experience a shock that would hurt, but it would not cause permanent damage and the low anxiety group was told they would experience a few mild shocks. Weller’s study would exactly replicate that study but contradict Schacter’s findings, giving further reason to doubt the correlation between the two variables. Weller tried to replicate Schacter’s study, Weller (1962) tested 234 freshman and sophomore college women who were put into two groups of high anxiety condition and low anxiety condition, in the same way that Schacter did. He expected to find that first-borns would react with higher anxiety when exposed to a seemingly higher anxiety situation but this was not the case. There have been studies that support the idea that first-borns do have more anxiety when compared to non first-borns. Zucker, Manosevitz, and Lanyon (1968) found themselves in a special situation when New York City experienced a citywide blackout. After the blackout, the researchers approached people throughout New York City who had experienced the blackout and asked 65 men and 35 women between the ages of 17 and 70 to fill out a questionnaire asking about their levels of anxiety they had during the blackout and also their need for affiliation, in other words, wanting to have a companion during the crisis. Zucker et al. (1968) did find that the first-borns that they tested reported more anxiety than any other group, as they had predicted but were surprised to find that first-borns had no significant difference in the need to affiliate. McDonald and Carroll (1981) asked 29 males and 71 female undergraduate students ranging in age between 18 and 44 years old to outline their family constellation it included indicating expected family relationships and their age, the number of siblings they have, and the ages of those siblings. They were also given questions from the fear of death scale to measure death anxiety. McDonald and Carroll found that First-borns and only children had higher death anxiety when compared to all other groups of birth order. There are many contradictions in this particular field of psychology. In order to further explore the belief that firstborn children will be more affected by stress and anxiety than non-firstborns, this study looked at this affect as felt in college students. This study hypothesized that if a college student were a firstborn child; they would report more anxiety when compared to non-firstborn children. If a student were the last-born in their family they would have the lowest levels of anxiety when compared to non-lastborn children. Only children would have the lowest level of anxiety when compared to all other birth orders. The independent variable was the order in which the participant was born within their family and the dependent variable will be anxiety. Levels of anxiety were based on the participant’s answers to a survey.


METHOD


METHOD


METHOD

PARTICIPANTS
Ninety-four undergraduate college students, 21 male and 73 female, between the ages of 18 and 22 were the participants in this study. Our sample included 35 first-borns, 33 last-borns, 19 middle-borns, and 7 only children. Most were given course credit for their participation in the study. Participants were recruited through convenience sampling in their classroom by the experimenter, or through fliers posted on the bulletin board of the psychology department’s human participants pool.

PARTICIPANTS
Ninety-four undergraduate college students, 21 male and 73 female, between the ages of 18 and 22 were the participants in this study. Our sample included 35 first-borns, 33 last-borns, 19 middle-borns, and 7 only children. Most were given course credit for their participation in the study. Participants were recruited through convenience sampling in their classroom by the experimenter, or through fliers posted on the bulletin board of the psychology department’s human participants pool.

PARTICIPANTS
Ninety-four undergraduate college students, 21 male and 73 female, between the ages of 18 and 22 were the participants in this study. Our sample included 35 first-borns, 33 last-borns, 19 middle-borns, and 7 only children. Most were given course credit for their participation in the study. Participants were recruited through convenience sampling in their classroom by the experimenter, or through fliers posted on the bulletin board of the psychology department’s human participants pool.

MATERIALS
Participants were first given two copies of a consent form they read it and signed it to return to the researchers, and they kept the other copy for their own records. Participants were then given an anonymous survey on basic white paper asking them general questions about their life at college as well as detailed questions concerning their age, the number of siblings they have and the ages of those siblings. Students who were the oldest of all their siblings were considered first-borns, students who were younger than all their siblings were classified as last-borns, students who had siblings who were both older and younger than themselves were classified as middle borns and those who reported having no siblings at all were classified as only children. Also included in the survey were six questions, which required that they rate their levels of anxiety experienced within the past month. The survey included questions such as “Feeling so restless you couldn’t sit still“. They were given five choices of which to circle one on a liking scale ranging from not at all, to extremely. The other questions asked of the participants are included in the appendix along with the complete context of the survey. The participants used their own writing utensils to fill out the surveys.

MATERIALS
Participants were first given two copies of a consent form they read it and signed it to return to the researchers, and they kept the other copy for their own records. Participants were then given an anonymous survey on basic white paper asking them general questions about their life at college as well as detailed questions concerning their age, the number of siblings they have and the ages of those siblings. Students who were the oldest of all their siblings were considered first-borns, students who were younger than all their siblings were classified as last-borns, students who had siblings who were both older and younger than themselves were classified as middle borns and those who reported having no siblings at all were classified as only children. Also included in the survey were six questions, which required that they rate their levels of anxiety experienced within the past month. The survey included questions such as “Feeling so restless you couldn’t sit still“. They were given five choices of which to circle one on a liking scale ranging from not at all, to extremely. The other questions asked of the participants are included in the appendix along with the complete context of the survey. The participants used their own writing utensils to fill out the surveys.

MATERIALS
Participants were first given two copies of a consent form they read it and signed it to return to the researchers, and they kept the other copy for their own records. Participants were then given an anonymous survey on basic white paper asking them general questions about their life at college as well as detailed questions concerning their age, the number of siblings they have and the ages of those siblings. Students who were the oldest of all their siblings were considered first-borns, students who were younger than all their siblings were classified as last-borns, students who had siblings who were both older and younger than themselves were classified as middle borns and those who reported having no siblings at all were classified as only children. Also included in the survey were six questions, which required that they rate their levels of anxiety experienced within the past month. The survey included questions such as “Feeling so restless you couldn’t sit still“. They were given five choices of which to circle one on a liking scale ranging from not at all, to extremely. The other questions asked of the participants are included in the appendix along with the complete context of the survey. The participants used their own writing utensils to fill out the surveys.

PROCEDURE
The participant’s birth order will be determined based on the information that they put on the survey regarding their own age, how many siblings they have, and the age of those siblings. . The independent variable is birth order. This is a quasi-experimental design because the experimenters have no control over what a person‘s birth order is. Oldest children are classified as first-borns, youngest children are the last born in a family, only children have no siblings and anyone who did not fall into those three categories were known as later-born and were used as a comparison. The dependent variable was the level of anxiety they are feeling throughout college. Anxiety was measured by the answer they give on the survey, answers closer to “extremely” will indicate a high level of anxiety and answer closer to “not at all” will indicate low levels of anxiety. The participants either came to the spot designated by the experimenter or the experimenter went to their classroom with permission from that professor, and asked for people to participate in a study, which will test anxiety levels in college students. No person was discriminated against and all who wanted to participate was given a chance to do so. The experimenter then gave out the two copies of the informed consent form which described the general task of studying anxiety in college students, explained to the student that they were being asked to fill out a brief survey and informed them of their rights as participants. It also described the benefits that the experimenter may receive from the outcome of the experiment. The participants were asked to read and sign the informed consent in order to participate in the study. The participant kept one copy of the informed consent and the other was signed and returned to the experimenter. After the experimenter collected all informed consents, every participant is then given an anonymous survey to fill out. The experimenter asked that the surveys be filled out as honestly as possible and that the participants follow the directions written on the paper itself. After the survey was completed the experimenter collected it and the participants were debriefed. Debriefing involved the experimenter explaining that the participants birth order will be looked at when comparing the different levels of anxiety.

PROCEDURE
The participant’s birth order will be determined based on the information that they put on the survey regarding their own age, how many siblings they have, and the age of those siblings. . The independent variable is birth order. This is a quasi-experimental design because the experimenters have no control over what a person‘s birth order is. Oldest children are classified as first-borns, youngest children are the last born in a family, only children have no siblings and anyone who did not fall into those three categories were known as later-born and were used as a comparison. The dependent variable was the level of anxiety they are feeling throughout college. Anxiety was measured by the answer they give on the survey, answers closer to “extremely” will indicate a high level of anxiety and answer closer to “not at all” will indicate low levels of anxiety. The participants either came to the spot designated by the experimenter or the experimenter went to their classroom with permission from that professor, and asked for people to participate in a study, which will test anxiety levels in college students. No person was discriminated against and all who wanted to participate was given a chance to do so. The experimenter then gave out the two copies of the informed consent form which described the general task of studying anxiety in college students, explained to the student that they were being asked to fill out a brief survey and informed them of their rights as participants. It also described the benefits that the experimenter may receive from the outcome of the experiment. The participants were asked to read and sign the informed consent in order to participate in the study. The participant kept one copy of the informed consent and the other was signed and returned to the experimenter. After the experimenter collected all informed consents, every participant is then given an anonymous survey to fill out. The experimenter asked that the surveys be filled out as honestly as possible and that the participants follow the directions written on the paper itself. After the survey was completed the experimenter collected it and the participants were debriefed. Debriefing involved the experimenter explaining that the participants birth order will be looked at when comparing the different levels of anxiety.

PROCEDURE
The participant’s birth order will be determined based on the information that they put on the survey regarding their own age, how many siblings they have, and the age of those siblings. . The independent variable is birth order. This is a quasi-experimental design because the experimenters have no control over what a person‘s birth order is. Oldest children are classified as first-borns, youngest children are the last born in a family, only children have no siblings and anyone who did not fall into those three categories were known as later-born and were used as a comparison. The dependent variable was the level of anxiety they are feeling throughout college. Anxiety was measured by the answer they give on the survey, answers closer to “extremely” will indicate a high level of anxiety and answer closer to “not at all” will indicate low levels of anxiety. The participants either came to the spot designated by the experimenter or the experimenter went to their classroom with permission from that professor, and asked for people to participate in a study, which will test anxiety levels in college students. No person was discriminated against and all who wanted to participate was given a chance to do so. The experimenter then gave out the two copies of the informed consent form which described the general task of studying anxiety in college students, explained to the student that they were being asked to fill out a brief survey and informed them of their rights as participants. It also described the benefits that the experimenter may receive from the outcome of the experiment. The participants were asked to read and sign the informed consent in order to participate in the study. The participant kept one copy of the informed consent and the other was signed and returned to the experimenter. After the experimenter collected all informed consents, every participant is then given an anonymous survey to fill out. The experimenter asked that the surveys be filled out as honestly as possible and that the participants follow the directions written on the paper itself. After the survey was completed the experimenter collected it and the participants were debriefed. Debriefing involved the experimenter explaining that the participants birth order will be looked at when comparing the different levels of anxiety.


RESULTS
The research hypothesis stated that a person’s birth order would affect their levels of anxiety. It was predicted that oldest children would have the most anxiety and youngest would have less as compared to first and middle children. Only children were predicted to have the least when compared to all other birth orders. A one-way ANOVA was done to analyze the data on the 94 participants. With the highest levels of anxiety being a score of four, and the lowest being a score of zero. The results are included in the table at the end of the results section. The value of F 3, 90 = .668, which is not significant. There were no significant differences among participants of different birth orders, in other words all had generally the same levels of anxiety in each group of birth order.


RESULTS
The research hypothesis stated that a person’s birth order would affect their levels of anxiety. It was predicted that oldest children would have the most anxiety and youngest would have less as compared to first and middle children. Only children were predicted to have the least when compared to all other birth orders. A one-way ANOVA was done to analyze the data on the 94 participants. With the highest levels of anxiety being a score of four, and the lowest being a score of zero. The results are included in the table at the end of the results section. The value of F 3, 90 = .668, which is not significant. There were no significant differences among participants of different birth orders, in other words all had generally the same levels of anxiety in each group of birth order.


RESULTS
The research hypothesis stated that a person’s birth order would affect their levels of anxiety. It was predicted that oldest children would have the most anxiety and youngest would have less as compared to first and middle children. Only children were predicted to have the least when compared to all other birth orders. A one-way ANOVA was done to analyze the data on the 94 participants. With the highest levels of anxiety being a score of four, and the lowest being a score of zero. The results are included in the table at the end of the results section. The value of F 3, 90 = .668, which is not significant. There were no significant differences among participants of different birth orders, in other words all had generally the same levels of anxiety in each group of birth order.

TABLE

        	N	Mean	 Standard DeviationFirst borns	35	1.1419	 .7347Last borns	33	1.2121	 .7347Middle Borns	19	1.4825	 .7099Only children	7	1.4048	 .6587


DISCUSSION
This study was sparked by the idea that the order in which a person is born can affect the way they live their lives. Birth order was described as the order in which a person comes into their family. For instance, the first child born to the family would be characterized as a first-born, a person who has no siblings younger than themselves would be last-born, only children would be those with no siblings and the rest would be middle-born children. The basic thought was that first-born children were given much attention, but then stripped of that with the birth of younger siblings. Oldest children will then try harder then their other siblings to please their parents; as a result first-borns will have higher levels of anxiety when compared to non first-born children (Adler, http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html). This idea was not further proved in this study. General levels of anxiety were established by a quick survey given to 94 college students between the ages of 17 and 22. The birth order of the participants was also determined by the survey when they were asked their age, the number of siblings they had, and the age of those siblings. In our sample the results were not significant. Because the research done on this subject prior to the study was so contradictory in their results, the findings of this study were consistent with some of the findings of prior research. Weller (1962) sought to prove that first-born children and only children would be more anxious than later borns when threatened by an anxiety situation. His results were inconclusive, although he did find that first borns had more anxiety going into the study, before manipulation. Another study done by Jacoby (1968) who also manipulated his subjects by putting them into high and low anxiety groups found that his manipulations were no different among the birth orders. He did find that first borns had more anxiety upon entering the experiment. These two studies were both unable to prove their hypotheses but should have given support to my hypothesis that first borns would generally have more anxiety.


DISCUSSION
This study was sparked by the idea that the order in which a person is born can affect the way they live their lives. Birth order was described as the order in which a person comes into their family. For instance, the first child born to the family would be characterized as a first-born, a person who has no siblings younger than themselves would be last-born, only children would be those with no siblings and the rest would be middle-born children. The basic thought was that first-born children were given much attention, but then stripped of that with the birth of younger siblings. Oldest children will then try harder then their other siblings to please their parents; as a result first-borns will have higher levels of anxiety when compared to non first-born children (Adler, http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html). This idea was not further proved in this study. General levels of anxiety were established by a quick survey given to 94 college students between the ages of 17 and 22. The birth order of the participants was also determined by the survey when they were asked their age, the number of siblings they had, and the age of those siblings. In our sample the results were not significant. Because the research done on this subject prior to the study was so contradictory in their results, the findings of this study were consistent with some of the findings of prior research. Weller (1962) sought to prove that first-born children and only children would be more anxious than later borns when threatened by an anxiety situation. His results were inconclusive, although he did find that first borns had more anxiety going into the study, before manipulation. Another study done by Jacoby (1968) who also manipulated his subjects by putting them into high and low anxiety groups found that his manipulations were no different among the birth orders. He did find that first borns had more anxiety upon entering the experiment. These two studies were both unable to prove their hypotheses but should have given support to my hypothesis that first borns would generally have more anxiety.


DISCUSSION
This study was sparked by the idea that the order in which a person is born can affect the way they live their lives. Birth order was described as the order in which a person comes into their family. For instance, the first child born to the family would be characterized as a first-born, a person who has no siblings younger than themselves would be last-born, only children would be those with no siblings and the rest would be middle-born children. The basic thought was that first-born children were given much attention, but then stripped of that with the birth of younger siblings. Oldest children will then try harder then their other siblings to please their parents; as a result first-borns will have higher levels of anxiety when compared to non first-born children (Adler, http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html). This idea was not further proved in this study. General levels of anxiety were established by a quick survey given to 94 college students between the ages of 17 and 22. The birth order of the participants was also determined by the survey when they were asked their age, the number of siblings they had, and the age of those siblings. In our sample the results were not significant. Because the research done on this subject prior to the study was so contradictory in their results, the findings of this study were consistent with some of the findings of prior research. Weller (1962) sought to prove that first-born children and only children would be more anxious than later borns when threatened by an anxiety situation. His results were inconclusive, although he did find that first borns had more anxiety going into the study, before manipulation. Another study done by Jacoby (1968) who also manipulated his subjects by putting them into high and low anxiety groups found that his manipulations were no different among the birth orders. He did find that first borns had more anxiety upon entering the experiment. These two studies were both unable to prove their hypotheses but should have given support to my hypothesis that first borns would generally have more anxiety.

LIMITATIONS
The study included convenience sampling because we were limited to participants from Loyola University’s campus. Setting this study apart from the others was that it tested only general anxiety without any manipulation either by the experimenter, or after an anxiety-producing event. The results would imply that there is no influence on anxiety according to birth order. Lack of concrete results could be a result of the sample size. There were only ninety-four people who participated and the kinds of people were limited to the small college population of Loyola University New Orleans. The participants were mostly freshman, which is not representative of a college population. It is possible that freshman year is not as stressful as sophomore, junior, or senior year. The other limitations that the study suffered from was that our survey only asked six questions about general anxiety manifested through physical characteristics.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS
Further research into this subject could include many different factors to enhance the results. As previously mentioned there could be better results with a more detailed survey, questionnaire, or even a face-to-face interview where more information could be collected and examined. Questions on an improved survey might ask participants to rate their worry levels or fears. Examples of the kind of questions that could be asked on a questionnaire may include asking them to make distinctions between stepsiblings and half siblings rather than those who are fully genetically related. Time spent living with those siblings may also be important to note, because if the participant does not live with that person they will feel no competition among them. In going with that same theme, it may be important to set limits to how far apart the siblings ages are, and only use the data taken from people who meet the year limit. In the future, if the research includes more detailed information with a more exclusive method to conducting the experiment, the research hypothesis that birth order will affect anxiety levels, will have a better chance of being proven.

IMPLICATIONS
The study of a person’s ordinal position, or birth order should continue. It is an important factor which pattern are a child’s personality and their ability to cope in social situations. Although our study’s results were inconclusive, future research may help to understand why people develop the personality characteristics that they do. Finding relationships between these characteristics and birth order may be helpful to psychologists who aim to help people understand themselves. Knowledge of the effects of birth order may give parents a better ideal of how to create an equal environment among all their children and improve their parenting skills. This knowledge may also help teachers to understand how to deal with children who are just developing their social skills. Although our results did not prove the hypothesis, there are still implications that birth order effects how people live their lives.


REFERENCES
Does your birth order affect your abilities? Retrieved September 18, 2002, http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html

Freese, J., Powell, B., Steelman, L.C., (1999). Rebel without a cause or effect: birth order and social attitudes. American Sociological Review, 64, 207-231

Gates, L., Lineberger, M. R., Crockett, J., & Hubbard, J., (1988). Birth order and its relationship to depression, anxiety, and self-concept test scores in children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 149, 29-34.

Jacoby, J., (1968). Birth rank and pre-experimental anxiety. The Journal of Social Psychology, 76, 9-11.

McDonald, R.T., & Carroll, J. D., (1981).Three measures of death anxiety: Birth ordereffects and concurrent validity. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 37, 574-577.

Santrock, J.W. (2002). Socioemotional development in early childhood. In J.E. Karpacz (Ed.), Life-span development (pp. 253-254). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Weller, L., (1962). The relationship of birth order to anxiety: A replication of the Schachter findings. Sociometry, 25, 415-417.

Zucker, R.A., Manosevitz, M. & Lanyon, R. I., (1968). Birth order, anxiety, and affiliation during a crisis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 354-359.


REFERENCES
Does your birth order affect your abilities? Retrieved September 18, 2002, http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html

Freese, J., Powell, B., Steelman, L.C., (1999). Rebel without a cause or effect: birth order and social attitudes. American Sociological Review, 64, 207-231

Gates, L., Lineberger, M. R., Crockett, J., & Hubbard, J., (1988). Birth order and its relationship to depression, anxiety, and self-concept test scores in children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 149, 29-34.

Jacoby, J., (1968). Birth rank and pre-experimental anxiety. The Journal of Social Psychology, 76, 9-11.

McDonald, R.T., & Carroll, J. D., (1981).Three measures of death anxiety: Birth ordereffects and concurrent validity. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 37, 574-577.

Santrock, J.W. (2002). Socioemotional development in early childhood. In J.E. Karpacz (Ed.), Life-span development (pp. 253-254). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Weller, L., (1962). The relationship of birth order to anxiety: A replication of the Schachter findings. Sociometry, 25, 415-417.

Zucker, R.A., Manosevitz, M. & Lanyon, R. I., (1968). Birth order, anxiety, and affiliation during a crisis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 354-359.


REFERENCES
Does your birth order affect your abilities? Retrieved September 18, 2002, http://www.marymt.edu/~psychol/exper/Chap14.html

Freese, J., Powell, B., Steelman, L.C., (1999). Rebel without a cause or effect: birth order and social attitudes. American Sociological Review, 64, 207-231

Gates, L., Lineberger, M. R., Crockett, J., & Hubbard, J., (1988). Birth order and its relationship to depression, anxiety, and self-concept test scores in children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 149, 29-34.

Jacoby, J., (1968). Birth rank and pre-experimental anxiety. The Journal of Social Psychology, 76, 9-11.

McDonald, R.T., & Carroll, J. D., (1981).Three measures of death anxiety: Birth ordereffects and concurrent validity. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 37, 574-577.

Santrock, J.W. (2002). Socioemotional development in early childhood. In J.E. Karpacz (Ed.), Life-span development (pp. 253-254). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Weller, L., (1962). The relationship of birth order to anxiety: A replication of the Schachter findings. Sociometry, 25, 415-417.

Zucker, R.A., Manosevitz, M. & Lanyon, R. I., (1968). Birth order, anxiety, and affiliation during a crisis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 354-359.

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