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Birth Order and Communication with Parents at byu-idaho

by: Braydon Graf, jessica Tidwell, liset rivet, zarina leiva

Background:

Methods:

Communication with parents has been one of the most significant foundations in
the family since the beginning of time. It is very important for both parents and
their children to be able to communicate openly and effectively in order to create
a good relationship. The order in which one is born into a family effects how
individuals communicate with their parents and that, in turn, effects their relationship.
This study takes place at BYU- Idaho which is a Mormon private college. The Mormon culture
focuses on family unity and must have a significant effect on student/ parent relationships.
Through online media, texting and phone calls students can keep steady contact
with parents. The purpose and frequency of contact vary and this study strives
to prove that birth order is the determining factor of these communication habits.
The question behind this study is how do students of different birth order communicate
with their parents?

Finding #1
Oldest children communicate
the most overall.

A study was formulated to make conclusions off of the basis


that birth order effects communication with parents. A survey
was created to gather data on what form of communication
students use and how often they communicate
with their parents depending on their birth order.
An email was sent out to randomly selected BYU-I students
explaining the nature of the survey. The e-mail also explained
that the survey was optional and that students did not
have to answer any questions they did not feel comfortable
answering. Using Qualtrics we sent out the survey to
300 students at BYU-Idaho and received 80 responses.

Finding #2
Finding #3
Youngest
and
middle
children
Oldest children communicate
report
communicating
because
more just to talk

parents want to talk more


than oldest children.

Average of How often each child communicates in total

Conclusions/Discussion:
1. Oldest children still need their parents (They
communicate most and communicate most just to talk)
2.
Middle
and
Youngest
Children
want
independence
(once they get to college talk to
parents most often because their parents want to talk)
3. Parents are more attached to their middle and youngest children

4. Children raised as oldest children rely more on their


parents once married than middle and youngest children.
5. Length of time in home may not affect parent
relationship (male youngest children reported more
positive relationship than female youngest children)

Finding #4
Married oldest children
communicate the most overall
25
20

Single
2
ENGAGED
3
MARRIED

Finding #5
Youngest men report having
the most positive relationship
with their parents

15

y=1.0076x+13.136
R^2=0.04001

-Just to Talk

10

(blank)

-Because you have a Question


-Because your Parents want to talk to you

5
0

4.85
4.8
4.75
4.7

1
Youngest

2
Middle

3
Oldest

(blank)

1
Men
2
Women

4.65

-Because you are Bored


4.6

-Because you are Stressed

4.55

-To ask for Money


Youngest
Of the three birth orders recorded oldest children had the highest
reported overall communication. According to the average of all forms
of communication between oldest, middle, and youngest children, the
oldest children had the highest average. The average is not very much
higher in oldest children but although it is not a large amount higher than
youngest and middle child it is still interesting. Once a regression analysis
or R squared test was performed it can see be seen that birth order is about
4 % responsible for how often a child communicates with their parents.

Middle

While looking at the green bar on the above chart it is visible


that youngest and middle children communicate at about the
same frequency in terms of calling their parents just to talk.
Oldest children report this being the reason they communicate
most often and report communicating just to talk at
slightly higher averages than youngest and middle children.

4.5

1
2
Youngest
Middle

3
Oldest

Oldest

Both Middle and youngest children report higher levels of the


reason for communication as being parents want to talk than
oldest children. Middle children report the highest averages
but they are extremly close to those of youngest children.

Based on the averages taken the birth order group and marital staus
which report having the highest levels of overall communication
are married oldest children. They are followed closely by engaged
youngest and engaged middle children. This finding is surprising
since it is often assumed that married children communicate less
due to their marital staus. It is often assumed that oldest children
would call the least because they are often seen in society as the
most independent.

Of all the birth order groups and gender groups youngest men reported
having the overall most positive relationship with their parents. This was
surprising because it is often perceived that women would have better
relationships with their parents but in two out of the three birth orders
men reported overall more positive relationships with their parents.