Ordinal position and peer popularity

Norman Miller, Geoffrey Maruyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The interaction of siblings within the home may require later-born children--those with less power than their older siblings--to develop more effective interpersonal skills. If so, their popularity should be appreciably affected; they should be better liked. To test this line of reasoning, the relationship between ordinal position of a child and his or her popularity among peers was examined by relating school setting measures of popularity in friendship, play, and school-work situations to ordinal position for 1,750 grade-school children. For friendship and play measures, later-born children were more popular than their early-born peers. This finding held across racial/ethnic background (Afro-, Mexican-, and Anglo-American), age (kindergarten to 6th grade), and sex. In addition, teacher's ratings of children showed that later-borns did possess greater social skills than their early-born peers. Results fail to confirm previous findings relating ordinal position to (a) measures of achievement and intelligence and (b) personality dimensions such as anxiety, self-concept, and dependence. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1976


  • ordinal position of siblings, popularity in friendship &
  • play &
  • schoolwork situations, kindergartners to 6th graders


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