The role of birth order in substance related disorders

  • Assumptor Mukangi United States International University Kenya


This study was guided by two objectives. The first objective was to investigate which of the ordinal birth orders (one's chronological position with in their family of origin) was over represented within patients receiving treatment for addiction at a drugs rehabilitation centre. The second objective was to investigate whether psychological birth order (a person's perception of their ordinal birth order) was more prevalent in relation to substance related disorders. 28 male participants admitted in a rehabilitation centre were recruited for the study. Their age ranged from 18-50 years of age. The Psychological Birth Order Inventory (PBOI) by Campbell, White & Stewart (1991) was used to collect information concerning the participant's psychological birth order whilst Eckstein's 1977 ordinal birth order assessment question was used to derive information concerning the participants' ordinal position. In reference to the first objective, it was found that the youngest child was more likely to have a substance related disorder 33.3%, followed by the first and middle child who were just as likely to develop the disorder 28.6 % and lastly, an only child with a frequency of 7.6%.  In the second objective, it was found that majority of the participants rated themselves as psychological first borns with a frequency score of 51.9%.This was followed by ratings of the psychological middle child 22.2% and the psychological only  (11.1%) The interpretations and implications of the results have been discussed.

Key words: psychology, birth order, performance, disorder

Author Biography

Assumptor Mukangi, United States International University Kenya

Assumptor Mukangi has published an article entitled "Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT): A critical review" in the The Journal of Language, Technology &             Entrepreneurship in Africa, 2 (1), 54 - 65. Her research interests include: Birth order, burn-out, marriage, psychopathology and culture.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1998-1279