The Role of Birth Order in Personality: An Enduring Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Adler

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2012


birth order, family systems, individual psychology


The authors contend that two of the most important contributions of Alfred Adler to the behavioral sciences were the projective use of early recollections and the role of birth order as they both affect one's personality. One purpose of this article is to provide an overview of several developmental issues that arise within the broader context of a family systems approach and its implications on various individuals. Another purpose is to present an empirical case for statistically significant studies showing birth order differences. The article is divided into the following topics: an introduction and overview of background issues, birth order research and research issues, recommendations for future research, and clinical implications for behavioral scientists.


Educational Leadership

Publication Title

Journal of Individual Psychology

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