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Birth Order: An examination of its relationship with the Big Five personality theory and Trait Emotional Intelligence

Cole, E; (2014) Birth Order: An examination of its relationship with the Big Five personality theory and Trait Emotional Intelligence. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores the concept of birth order and its relationship with both the Big Five and trait emotional intelligence (EI). These relationships are examined through a series of studies, each differing in sample size and methodology. The hypotheses in this thesis are largely based on the work of Frank Sulloway and his influential book, Born to Rebel. Chapter 3 presents a set of meta-analyses on the relationships between birth order and the Big Five. Results suggest that there is no relationship between the variables. In Chapter 4, two between family designs examine birth order and its relationship to the Big Five and trait EI. The results from these studies reveal that oldest and younger borns score significantly higher than middle borns on Extraversion and Openness, and that there is no relationship between birth order and trait EI. A more comprehensive examination (of the relationship) between birth order and trait EI is conducted in Chapter 5 and finds that there is no relationship between the two variables when assessed in a between family design. The thesis concludes with a final study on birth order and its relationship with the Big Five and trait EI using a within family design; 126 sets of siblings from three sibling families participated in this study. Results showed that first borns scored significantly higher than last borns in Conscientiousness and that middle borns scored lower than both first borns and last borns in Neuroticism. This study also found no relationship between birth order and trait EI. Overall, this thesis found conflicting evidence of birth order effects on the Big Five suggesting that differing methodology and other confounding variables make this difficult to draw definitive conclusions on the relationship between the variables. However, this thesis found consistent evidence that there is no relationship between birth order and trait EI.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Birth Order: An examination of its relationship with the Big Five personality theory and Trait Emotional Intelligence
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1428439
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