New research shows a marked dichotomy in personality traits between oldest and youngest siblings in British family units – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

New research shows a marked dichotomy in personality traits between oldest and youngest siblings in British family units




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People are born different to one another, that much cannot be argued with. They like different things, they think differently, etc.

However, when it comes down to siblings, it has long been speculated that their personality traits are often inherently related to the order they are born in.

Well, this so far speculative thought does seem to have a firm base on reality, as recently proved by a piece of research conducted by YouGov.

According to this research, the eldest in a family does indeed feel a greater weight of responsibility, while the youngest child feels he or she can enjoy a greater level of comfort (‘breathing space’).

If one separates the first and last born siblings in British families with more than one child (86% of the population), we can see a clear separation in personality traits. The most notable difference appears in feeling the burden of responsibility. More than half (54%, in fact) of first borns say they feel a greater responsibility than their siblings. This compares to 31% of last borns.

On the other hand, younger siblings are more apt to say they are funnier (46% compared to 36% of elder siblings), more easy going and more relaxed, though there is a great degree of subjectiveness attached to this trait.

It could be argued that age itself, as opposed to family dynamics, may also help to determine the siblings’ traits disparity. It would be fair to assume, for instance, that older children are more likely to say they are more successful than their younger counterparts, since they have ‘been around’ longer in life.

Nonetheless, family dynamics do undoubtedly play a part on how a sibling’s character develops over time. The shift in parental attention to a new baby, for example, may imbue the first born with a tendency and initiative to fend for him or herself. As a result of this, an older sibling may feel better organized, for example, while a younger sibling is more likely to feel their parents’ predilection.

Individual choices, genetic predisposition, and many other factors will always influence one’s personality, of course, but there may be more to the old ‘siblings’ rivalry’ that meets the eye.

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