Birth order may represent one of the most influential environmental factors that directly impacts personality development and even life outcomes. The present study sought to expand upon the existing literature by examining the motivational and dispositional differences between first born and second born individuals. Research indicates that first born children show significantly higher levels of academic achievement and lifelong attainment due to experiencing higher parental expectations as well as increased financial support. As a result, the second born child is likely to compare him/herself with the first born sibling and develop a greater level of competitiveness. Additionally, this desire to surpass the first born may lead to the development of extrinsically motivated goals. Few research endeavors to date have explored the specific motivational disposition of the second born child with no future siblings. By engaging in this research, a better understanding of the complex interaction between siblings can be ascertained as well as a deeper appreciation for how the familial environment impacts development. Such information can be applied to the educational setting to develop programs more rewarding and salient to second-born individuals, thus increasing their level of academic achievement. Seventy-two male and female participants took part in the present experiment. Research validated scales were used to assess overall competitiveness in addition to intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. A paired-t test was used to evaluate the data and compare the differences between the two groups. Although the results do not support the hypotheses, there were a number of limitations that may have served to restrict the scope of the data. The theoretical implications of the results and suggestions for future research will be discussed.
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Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Thye, Melissa D., "Assessing the Second Born: The Role of Competitiveness and Extrinsic Motivation in Birth Order" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1545.