A study into middleborns and familial sentiment, to investigate if birth order can be a determining factor of identity.

Student, A., (2015) A study into middleborns and familial sentiment, to investigate if birth order can be a determining factor of identity. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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This study set out to determine if birth order (as an external factor) can be a determinant of characteristics in the formation of identity. The research project is based on ‘familial sentiment’, a theme found from key birth order researcher Dr Salmon, who suggests that middleborn children are generally less closely affiliated with parents than other birth orders, as they focus on relationships outside of kin. Although most birth order studies use quantitative methods, this study is through 15 semi-structured interviews that take place over the course of 2 months. This method was chosen so that data produced would be rich in detail and provide in depth accounts of middleborn children.

For the interviews, 3 groups of participants were selected. These included 5 Early Years Practitioners, 5 parents of middleborns, and 5 adult middleborns. This use of triangulation provided mixed perspectives, and reduced participant bias. Participants were asked to describe the middleborns key characteristics, and were asked about the middleborns affiliation to their parents, siblings and friends. They were then asked to select who they regarded to be the closest person to the middleborn.

The data analysis showed little correlation between existing findings from Dr Salmon. There was minimal evidence that middle children in the study had a lack of affiliation with parents. Adults in the study showed a large variety of levels of affiliation to parents. Some middleborns were extremely close, choosing a parent as their closest person; despite having an immediate family of their own. Middleborn adolescents were the only group within the study that appeared to show a lesser affiliation to parents. However, this could be a general adolescent attribute.

The data did present the fact that many Early Years Practitioners disregarded external factors on the formation of identity. In contrast to this, adult middleborns reported that they feel their birth order definitely impacted upon their development of themselves as a person. Although it was not the topic that the research set out to discover, this is an interesting theme that occurred naturally, and could justify further investigation.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (Hons) Childhood Studies: Early Years
Uncontrolled Keywords: birth order, identity, middleborns
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Undergraduate Dissertations
Departments > Childhood and Youth
Depositing User: Wendy Ellison
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2015 08:24
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2015 08:24
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1434

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