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Birth Order and Crime Research Papers

Research papers on birth order and crime sometimes use Frank J. Sulloway's book Born to Rebel to illustrate that birth order affects a child's propensity towards crime. Paper Masters custom writes research papers on birth order and can focus the project on how birth order translates to an increase in crime.

Birth order and crime research papers report that later-born children are more likely than firstborns to engage in civil disobedience or otherwise disobey the law. In his book on birth order, Born to Rebel, Sulloway claimed that his extensive research found later-born children are far more likely to rebel against authority than first-born children.

Birth Order and Crime

Family Status and Crime

Other researchers tested Sulloway’s theory and findings by reviewing the family status of college students arrested in 1996, following illegal demonstrations against a K-Mart distribution center in North Carolina. Some of the students were arrested more than once. After talking with the students nearly one year later, the researchers found that of the 20 arrested – including those arrested more than once – six of the 12 arrested once were later-borns, while all five arrested more than once were later-borns. Though the sampling was very small in this case, the researchers said Sulloway’s theory had merit; later-born children are indeed more likely to rebel against authority than first-born children.

One psychologist maintains that later-born children “grow up with ambivalence,” because they are praised one minute and gently mocked the next. Factors such as the following affect their propensity towards crime:

  • Later-born children take verbal abuse from older siblings, who complain they never had the advantages the younger child is receiving.
  • The younger – or youngest – child then develops rebellious and impetuous behaviors and wants everything immediately.
  • Later-born children are more likely to engage in rebellions, seeking attention and not caring about the consequences, (as in our example above).
  • Another factor is that later-born children are always competing against older siblings.

It appears that middle, fourth-born, and other younger children are more rebellion-prone than firstborns.

Birth Order and Crime - Rebellion

While such children can be pleasant and agreeable, they also can be very rebellious and feel like children even after reaching adulthood. Often feeling like the underdog, later-borns rebel to gain attention or simply to make their own individual mark. Perhaps the most noted rebel was Joan of Arc, a later-born who led an army before being betrayed.

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