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Study Finds Eldest Siblings Less Cooperative and Giving

Birth Order: Study Knocks First-Borns Off Their Pedestals

First-borns have a reputation for being just about perfect. They perform better on standardized tests and usually achieve a high degree of tangible success, being most likely to head the boardroom table.

But they're also known for their loyal and nurturing natures, which is why I am surprised a study found they are less cooperative, trusting, and reciprocating than their younger siblings. How can this be? My guess is when another child comes, they are forced to share their parents' attention and later their toys, friends, activities, and even rooms.

Researchers more or less agree with my theory, saying new siblings siphon off parents' attention, which creates more competition and less cooperation. If it was this simple, though, wouldn't children grow out of it? You'd think! Yet the study's sample was over 500 college students. I'd say it's because we still regress around siblings no matter how old we get, but, considering the study didn't use siblings, it seems it never stops!

Source: Flickr User kaymoshusband

Join The Conversation
SandM2819 SandM2819 7 years
I find birth order stuff crap, its a stereotype, I'm the youngest in my family (counting cousins) and I am the only high school grad and only one in college who will be getting a doctorate in the next couple years (like 8 i'm a freshman), lives on my own (with bf), didn't have a child when I was in high school, I was always more independent and shied away from the family stuff, being the youngest and getting bullied by my older sister and cousins didn't make me very trust worthy but I was always more cooperative then everyone and I stayed out of trouble (though in our family when one kid got in trouble we all got punished so we would know not to do it)
Kimpossible Kimpossible 7 years
I also contradict the studies. I did better in school as well. Although, we both were successful in our careers (and we are both very motivated to do our best). "Loyal and nurturing", however, is something my older brother has never been lol. I also think that birth order studies are rather dubious. I think it's more environment and upbringing than birth order.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
Love the picture. I'm the baby of the family - had a brother and a female cousin who were 6 and 5 years older, respectively. My brother did awful things like that to me all the time, haha! He would tie me up in jumpropes when baby sitting me and if I got loose, he'd tie me back up and put me in the closet! And I actually have had my hair flushed in the toilet before, haha - not that he didn't get his ass beat for that one. I contradict these studies - I did way better in school, have been way more successful career wise and I'm much more aggressive and motivated than either of them. I'm way more confrontational too.
janneth janneth 7 years
I find that birth order theories are (almost) always correct in people I know.
Ac2366 Ac2366 7 years
I'm the oldest. I'm bossy, I hate to be told what to do, I only trust myself to get things done, and I'm the only one out of my siblings that has a job and the willingness to work for what I have. My youngest brother is more bossy than I am and my middle brother is a very good leader in a quiet way. I don't know if there is anything to this study.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
As the eldest of four, the results are true. I'm the lone college and grad school graduate. I am the lone one with a career (although the very youngest is striving to come next). In addition, I'm the lone married one with kids. I'm very loyal to my mom and family as well. I do have trouble cooperating sometimes. It's usually my way or the highway. I'm working on it, though.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 7 years
Agree Greenfairy, there's not much to birth order theories from what I've heard
runningesq runningesq 7 years
yes, that picture is awesome !
zeze zeze 7 years
As a first born of my entire extended family, who had a lot of children follow starting at the time I was 3, I can confirm these results in my case. I do think I am the most ambitious, better in school, more controlling than the rest, with that leadership position it is natural that nurturing and loyalty come into play because you learn to be a dependable person for younger sibs. And having your orders followed all the time in turn makes you less cooperative and bossy (where the success in boardrooms comes in) and bossy people tend to think they know it all and therefore don't trust anyone else's opinion and like to delegate but not be delegated to... Seems to all flow together IMO, I don't see the confusion or inconsistency in these findings. And I don't think it has to do with attention from parents, I think it has more to do with interaction with siblings and being treated like a leader from an early age...
xgreenfairyx xgreenfairyx 7 years
Well, there are also conflicting studies that don't find any link between birth order and personality traits. Some developmental psychologists think its more of a social role we put on birth order, and therefore treat the children accordingly. I dunno, birth order studies are dubious at best.
jocupcake jocupcake 7 years
This picture is sooo funny! My little sister can no longer complain about me. At least I never put her on a leash!
Hello890 Hello890 7 years
This picture is hilarious!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
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