Presentation Title

Birth Order and Anxiety: Is the Oldest Child the most Anxious?

Start Date

April 2020

End Date

April 2020

Major Field of Study

Psychology

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Afshin Gharib, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

This study examines the relationship between birth order and its effects on anxiety levels. Many previous studies looked into this relationship. There is evidence that the first born children experience more stress than their younger siblings. Weiss (1970), conducted a study to assess the relation between birth order and anxiety. Weiss hypothesized that firstborns would be more responsive under stress when monitoring cardiac and respiratory rates in response to four different types of stimuli. Fifteen firstborn and fifteen later born males volunteered for the study. Each participant was interviewed briefly prior to testing to determine if there had been any regularities in sleep patterns, dietary habits or other activities which may affect autonomic functions. They presented the volunteers with four types of stimuli, including; Tones, Shocks, and Problems. Heart rate was recorded with large zinc electrodes attached to both wrists. Respiration rate was recorded by two mercury strain gauges, which were placed over the chest and abdomen. They were able to gather their results from the stimuli response. The results of the study support the hypothesis that first borns are more responsive to stress stressors than later borns. Another study conducted by Schachter (1961) found that first-born children are subjected to more inconsistent nurturance than are later-born children and consequently show more dependency behavior in the form of affiliative responses. In other words, first born children show to be less independent than younger children. These findings have led me to hypothesize that older children experience more anxiety than younger children.

Comments

This presentation was accepted for the Scholarly and Creative Works Conference at Dominican University of California. The Conference was canceled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Birth Order and Anxiety: Is the Oldest Child the most Anxious?

This study examines the relationship between birth order and its effects on anxiety levels. Many previous studies looked into this relationship. There is evidence that the first born children experience more stress than their younger siblings. Weiss (1970), conducted a study to assess the relation between birth order and anxiety. Weiss hypothesized that firstborns would be more responsive under stress when monitoring cardiac and respiratory rates in response to four different types of stimuli. Fifteen firstborn and fifteen later born males volunteered for the study. Each participant was interviewed briefly prior to testing to determine if there had been any regularities in sleep patterns, dietary habits or other activities which may affect autonomic functions. They presented the volunteers with four types of stimuli, including; Tones, Shocks, and Problems. Heart rate was recorded with large zinc electrodes attached to both wrists. Respiration rate was recorded by two mercury strain gauges, which were placed over the chest and abdomen. They were able to gather their results from the stimuli response. The results of the study support the hypothesis that first borns are more responsive to stress stressors than later borns. Another study conducted by Schachter (1961) found that first-born children are subjected to more inconsistent nurturance than are later-born children and consequently show more dependency behavior in the form of affiliative responses. In other words, first born children show to be less independent than younger children. These findings have led me to hypothesize that older children experience more anxiety than younger children.