Advertisement

Human Nature

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 73–88 | Cite as

Birth order and relationships

Family, friends, and sexual partners
  • Catherine Salmon
Article

Abstract

Previous studies (Salmon 1999; Salmon and Daly 1998) have found that sex and birth order are strong predictors of familial sentiments. Middleborns tend to be less family-oriented than firstborns or lastborns, while sex differences seem to focus on the utility of kin in certain domains. If this is a reflection of middleborns receiving a lesser degree of support from kin (particularly in terms of parental investment), are middleborns turning to reciprocal alliances outside the family, becoming friendship specialists? Are there comparable birth order differences with respect to mating strategies? In this study, the impact of birth order on attitudes toward family, friends, and mating were examined. Two hundred and forty-five undergraduates completed a questionnaire relating to their attitudes toward friends and family as well as some aspects of mating behavior. Birth order did have a significant impact in several areas. Middleborns expressed more positive views toward friends and less positive opinions of family in general. They were less inclined to help family in need than firstborns or lastborns. Mating strategies also appeared to be influenced by birth order, most notably in the area of infidelity, with middleborns being the least likely birth order to cheat on a sexual partner.

Key words

Attitudes Birth order Helping Parental investment Sociosexuality 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alexander, R. D. 1979 Darwinism and Human Affairs. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bar-Tal, D., Y. Bar-Zohar, M. S. Greenberg, and M. Hermon 1977 Reciprocity Behavior in the Relationship between Donor and Recipient and between Harm-Doer and Victim. Sociometry 49:291–298.Google Scholar
  3. Boone, J. L. 1988 Parental Investment, Social Subordination, and Population Processes among the 15th and 16th Century Portuguese Nobility. In Human Reproductive Behavior: A Darwinian Perspective, L. Betzig, M. Borgerhoff Mulder, and P. Turke, eds. Pp. 201–219. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bowlby, J. 1973 Attachment and Loss, Vol. 2. Separation: Anxiety and Anger. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Clutton-Brock, T. H. 1984 Reproductive Effort and Terminal Investment in Iteroparous Animals. American Naturalist 123:212–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 1991 The Evolution of Parental Care. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cunningham, M. R. 1986 Levites and Brother’s Keepers: A Sociobiological Perspective on Prosocial Behavior. Humbolt Journal of Social Relations 13:35–67.Google Scholar
  8. Daly, M., and M. Wilson 1978 Sex, Evolution, and Behavior. Belmont, California: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  9. 1984 A Sociobiological Analysis of Human Infanticide. In Infanticide: Comparative and Evolutionary Perspectives, G. Hausfater and S.B. Hrdy, eds. Pp. 503–520. New York: Aldine.Google Scholar
  10. 1989 Is Parent-Offspring Conflict Sex-Linked? Freudian and Darwinian Models. Journal of Personality 58:163–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 1995 Discriminative Parental Solicitude and the Relevance of Evolutionary Models to the Analysis of Motivational Systems. In The Cognitive Neurosciences, M. Gazzaniga, ed. Pp. 1269–1286. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Davis, J. N. 1997 Birth Order, Sibship Size, and Status in Modern Canada. Human Nature 8:205–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Draper, P., and H. Harpending 1982 Father Absence and Reproductive Strategy: An Evolutionary Perspective. Journal of Anthropological Research 38:255–273.Google Scholar
  14. Freud, S. 1910 A Special Type of Choice of Object Made by Men (Contributions to the Psychology of Love, I). In Standard Edition, Vol. 11, J. Stachney, ed. and trans. Pp. 163–175. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  15. 1925 Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes. In Standard Edition, Vol. 19, J. Stachney, ed. and trans. Pp. 241–258. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  16. 1953 The Interpretation of Dreams. In Standard Edition, J. Stachney, ed. and trans. Vol. 4, pp. 1–338; Vol. 5, pp. 339–721. New York: W. W. Norton. (Originally published in 1900)Google Scholar
  17. Gangestad, S. W. 1996 Evolutionary Psychology and Genetic Variation: Non-adaptive, Fitness-Related and Adaptive. In Symposium on Characterizing Human Psychological Adaptations (CIBA Foundation), G. R. Bock and G. Cardew, eds. Pp. 212–230. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  18. Gangestad, S. W., J. A. Simpson, M. DiGeronimo, and M. Biek 1992 Differential Accuracy in Person Perception across Traits: Examination of a Functional Hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 62:688–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gangestad, S. W., and J. A. Simpson 1990 Toward an Evolutionary History of Female Sociosexual Variation. Journal of Personality 58:69–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gross, M. R. 1996 Alternative Reproductive Strategies and Tactics: Diversity within Sexes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 11:92–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hamilton, W. D. 1964 The Genetical Evolution of Social Behaviour, I and II. Journal of Theoretical Biology 7:1–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harris, J. R. 1998 The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  23. Hazen, C., and P. Shaver 1987 Romantic Love Conceptualized as an Attachment Process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52:502–511.Google Scholar
  24. Jacobs, B. S., and H. A. Moss 1976 Birth Order and Sex of Sibling as Determinants of Mother-Infant Interaction. Child Development 47:315–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kennedy, G. E. 1989 Middleborns’ Perceptions of Family Relationships. Psychological Reports 64:755–760.Google Scholar
  26. Kidwell, J. S. 1981 Number of Siblings, Sibling Spacing, Sex, and Birth Order: Their Effects on Perceived Parent-Adolescent Relationships. Journal of Marriage and the Family 43:315–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 1982 The Neglected Birth Order: Middleborns. Journal of Marriage and the Family 44:225–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. LeVine, R. A. 1965 Intergenerational Tensions and Extended Family Structures in Africa. In Social Structure and the Family Generational Relations, E. Shanas and G. F. Streib, eds. Pp. 188–204. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  29. Parker, J. G., and S. R. Asher 1993 Friendship and Friendship Quality in Middle Childhood: Links with Peer Group Acceptance and Feelings of Loneliness and Social Dissatisfaction. Developmental Psychology 29:611–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pugesek, B. H. 1995 Offspring Growth in the California Gull: Reproductive Effort and Parental Experience Hypothesis. Animal Behavior 49:611–647.Google Scholar
  31. Rundquist, E. A., and R. F. Sletto 1936 Personality in the Depression: A Study in the Measurement of Attitudes. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  32. Salmon, C. A. 1998 The Evocative Nature of Kin Terminology in Political Rhetoric. Politics and the Life Sciences 17(1):51–57.Google Scholar
  33. 1999 On the Impact of Sex and Birth Order on Contact with Kin. Human Nature 10:183–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Salmon, C. A., and M. Daly 1998 The Impact of Birth Order on Familial Sentiment: Middleborns Are Different. Human Behavior and Evolution 19:299–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Simpson, J. A., and S. W. Gangestad 1991 Individual Differences in Sociosexuality: Evidence for Convergent and Discriminant Validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 60:870–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sulloway, F. J. 1995 Birth Order and Evolutionary Psychology: A Meta-Analytic Overview. Psychological Inquiry 6:75–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 1996 Born To Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Surbey, M. K. 1990 Family Composition, Stress, and the Timing of Human Menarche. In The Socioendocrinology of Primate Reproduction, F. B. Bercovitch and T. E. Zeigler, eds. Pp. 11–32. New York: Alan R. Liss.Google Scholar
  39. Trivers, R. L. 1974 Parent-Offspring Conflict. American Zoologist 14:249–264.Google Scholar
  40. Trivers, R. L., and D. Willard 1973 Natural Selection of Parental Ability to Vary the Sex-Ratio of Offspring. Science 179:90–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Waller, N. G., and P. R. Shaver 1994 The Importance of Nongenetic Influences on Romantic Love Styles: A Twin Family Study. Psychological Science 5:268–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

Personalised recommendations