Birth order and psychological functioning first born male children in a matrilineal society : Zambia : the Nsenga case

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Ngulube, Naboth Marks John
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The effects of birth order (ordinal position) on psychological functioning, as the, • relate to an individual's personality, were investigated in a matrilineal society - the Nsenga - of Petauke District in the Eastern— Province: of Zambia. The main purpose of the study was to establish whether birth order has any significant contribution to how individuals in large families and within the extended family system function in relation to dependency, academic performance and manual skills. First born boy a aged between 12 and 15 years were compared with third born boys with similar backgrounds arid academic levels on dependency, academic performance and manual skill. Additionally, first borns were compared with third borns on level of anxiety before and after an anxiety arousing situations. Dependency was also measured experimental Fathers and father surrogates of the rural sample of boys were asked to indicate their dependency/independency expectations of their first born Questionnaires were used for measuring dependency in the survey study an for fathers' expectations. For the academic performance comparisons were made from results of two previous tests. In manual skill, subjects made sisal strings. Apart from the experimental study of dependency, subjects for the survey part were drawn from a rural sample. Subjects for the experimental part were drawn from two Lusaka Primary Schools in high density area::;. Results on dependancy both in the survey and experimental studies b show that first borns are mere dependent than third borns (t=8«3» dt=9<Jj P/.05; F=69.36, :lfl, 9o, P/^.05; and X2=9.69, df=1, P^.05) respectively. On academic performace, there are no significant differences between first borns and third borns although the means show a tendency of better Performance by the first borns (t-1.09, df=98, P/=05; F=1.190, df=1,98 P/.C. means of 3c°>(> arid ;-;>j respectively). Performance on manual skill that first borns are better than third borns (t=Ji.if6, df=98,Py^O^" F-19.86, clt=1,9c, Py'0C5)« Parental expectations also show a tendency towards dependancy as seen in 468/800 responses for dependency. On the measure of level of anxiety after experimental manipulationf that first borns1 level of anxiety is higher t:\a that of third born after the presentation of an anxiety arousing stimulus. These findings have been interpreted as suggesting that birth order importantly. affects psychological functioning of individuals in this culture on dependancy, manual skill and proneness to anxiety in threatening situation.^;; but that birth order seems to have no impact on academic perfomance
Birth order -- Zambia -- Eastern Province , Nsenga (Central African people)