PSYC 302 UMCP Psychology Childhood & Adolescence Psychology Literature Review


You will select three (3) scholarly empirical articles from an authentic source (professional journals) related to the development of children and adolescents.  After, selecting the articles, you will read them twice and provide a summary and critique of all 3 articles (approximately 6 pages including a covering page and reference page).  The articles must be recent, published in the last 10 years.

PSYC 302 Childhood and Adolescence Psychology
Achievement Level
Title and Introduction of 5.30 percent
10.5 percent
15 percent
the idea:
Title is not appropriate. Neither Title is appropriate. Readers Title is excellent. The topic is
Problem statement
implicit nor explicit reference is are aware of the overall
introduced well, and groundwork is
made to the topic or purpose of problem, challenge, or topic laid as to the direction of the article.
(15% Weighting)
the article.
of the article
Main Body:
5.30 percent
10.5 percent
15 percent
Flow of the review
The summary appears to have There is a basic flow from There is a good flow from introduction
no direction, with subtopics
one section to the next, but to summaries and critiques. It goes
(15% Weighting)
appearing disjointed.
not all sections or
from general ideas to specific
paragraphs follow in a
conclusions, applications and ideas for
natural or logical order.
proposed future studies. Transitions tie
sections together, as well as adjacent
Coverage of content
24.50 percent
35 percent
(35% Weighting)
Major sections of pertinent
All major sections of the
The appropriate content in
content have been omitted or
pertinent content are
consideration is covered in depth
greatly run-on. The topic is of included, but not covered in without being redundant. Sources are
little significance to the course. as much depth, or as
cited, when specific statements are
explicit, as expected.
made. Significance to the course is
Significance to the course is unquestionable.
Clarity of writing and 5.30percent
10.5 percent
15 percent
writing technique
It is hard to know what the
Writing is generally clear, Writing is crisp, clear, and succinct.
(15% Weighting)
writer is trying to express.
but unnecessary words are The writer incorporates the active voice
Writing is convoluted.
occasionally used. Meaning when appropriate and supports ideas
Misspelled words, incorrect
is sometimes hidden.
with examples. No spelling, grammar,
grammar, and improper
Paragraph or sentence
or punctuation errors are made.
punctuation are evident.
structure is too repetitive.
Few (5) spelling, grammar,
or punctuation errors are
3.5 percent
7 percent
10 percent
Analysis and synthesis of There is no indication the author The author provides
The author was able to make succinct
ideas; Discusses 3
tried to analyze or synthesize
concluding remarks that
and precise conclusions based on the
applications and 3 areas the information or make a
show an analysis and
review. Insights into the problem are
for future research.
conclusion based on the
synthesis of ideas occurred. appropriate. Conclusions and the
literature under review. No
Some of the conclusions,
application of findings are strongly
(10% Weighting)
application of findings is
however, were not
consistent with the review.
supported in the body of the
report. The application of
findings is stated.
Citations/References: 3.5 percent
7 percent
10 percent
Proper APA format
Citation for the article did not Citation for the article did Citation for the article did follow APA
follow APA format and was
follow APA format;
format. Essential information was
(10% Weighting)
missing essential information. however; a few (2) errors in accurate and complete.
essential information were
Birth Order
Running Head: BIRTH ORDER
Birth Order and Its Connection to Personality,
Cognitive Development, and Achievement
Bowie State University
Birth Order
Five research studies were analyzed to determine the link, if any, between birth order and
certain characteristics of a person such as personality, cognitive development, and
achievement. For the purpose of this analysis, achievement may be broadly defined as
excelling professionally, academically, and/or financially. Due to the short scope of this
analysis, inferences about cognitive development must be drawn from indicators such as
symbolic play early in life and level of educational attainment. There is some correlation
between birth order and the characteristics in question. However, it is also very likely that
it is not birth order position alone that affects a person’s development, but rather the
circumstances surrounding each child’s upbringing. These circumstances would include
the quality of the parenting and home environment. It was found that the presence of birth
order stereotypes may influence how prevalent those stereotypes are in reality.
Birth Order
Birth Order and Its Connection to Personality, Cognitive Development, and Achievement
Birth order refers to an individual’s numerical position among his or her siblings
such as first-born, middle-born, or last born. There are as many birth order positions as
there are children within a family. For years in societies around the world people have
attributed certain characteristics to people according to their birth order. For example,
first-borns are often thought of as more serious, responsible, and driven. Last-borns tend
to be considered the most outgoing, carefree, and creative. The possible existence of the
“birth order effect” has been heavily debated by psychologists and researchers for
decades. Alfred Adler is commonly thought of as one of the first psychologists to apply
any importance to birth order research. Based on observations and research it has been
suggested that individuals display differences in personality, cognitive development, and
achievement as a result of birth order and how birth order is perceived by others.
Literature Review
Kantarevic and Mechoulan (2006) investigated the possible connection
between birth order, educational attainment, and earnings. The researchers sought to
discover whether or not there is a pattern of falling then rising achievement among
siblings, meaning that first-borns and last-borns have an advantage over other siblings.
For this study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) was analyzed for trends that
may reveal underlying birth order effects on achievement. The PSID provided researchers
the opportunity to track several different variables surrounding 31,000 families, including
hourly pay or salary, family size, and years of education. The researchers found that firstborns typically complete more years of schooling than later-borns. Financial attainment
Birth Order
(earnings) followed a similar pattern. However there was no evidence of any last-born
Assuming that the researchers are correct in their conclusion that a first-born
advantage exists in the educational realm, it is not surprising that that advantage also
affects earnings. In present day society, in most cases, education and earnings are directly
related. One standout weakness of this study is lack of research on only children. It is
impossible to create a complete evaluation of birth order theory without discussing all
sides of the issue. It should also be noted that earnings information was only available for
36% of the original sample. That is a substantially smaller sample and therefore is less
Kowalski, Wyver, Masselos, and De Lacey (2004) investigated whether or not
first-born children are more likely than later-born children to engage in high quality
symbolic play. According to Piaget symbolic play is extremely significant in relation to
cognitive development because it signals children’s ability to form and use symbols and
other mental images in their actions. Symbolic play also demonstrates some degree of
initiative and creativity. The study methodology called for observing 24 children from
working families, ages 17-31 months, playing in different situations, via videotapes
recorded at day care centers in Sydney, Australia and surrounding areas. 14 of the 24
children were first-borns. By watching the videotapes, researchers were observing the
different levels of pretend play that were present during three different playtime
situations: same-age free play, mixed-aged free play with preschool-aged peers, and free
play with a mixed-age dyad. Observing mixed-aged play with older children who were on
average 52.8 months old was crucial to determining if the presence of an older child, such
Birth Order
as a sibling, might influence younger children’s pretend play style and/ or frequency. The
study results indicated that first-borns do “engage in symbolic play more frequently and
at higher levels,” especially in mixed-age groups. The researchers point to the idea that
“parental involvement and interaction contribute substantially to very young
children’s play activity.” It is suggested that first-time parents may have more time
for and interest in pretend play.
The primary weakness of this study is the extremely small size of and lack of
diversity in the sample group. Data on 24 children who are from essentially the same area
is not enough to make any accurate generalizations about children. It would be useful to
conduct another study in which children are observed at home with their families, or
some other equally natural environment, since the parents have been implicated as being
at least partially responsible for the development of their children. It is also uncertain
whether or not a child’s interaction with an older child can be equated to how a child
would interact with his/her own sibling. The sibling relationship is unique and therefore
difficult to replicate. In the future a longitudinal study should be completed in order to
determine if the apparent firstborn advantage continues throughout life.
Pine (2005) explored the connection between vocabulary development and birth
order. This study involved monitoring the vocabulary of 9 first-born, middle class
English children as well as their second-born siblings. Each child’s mother maintained a
diary of her child’s vocabulary development. In some cases the researcher also visited the
home and recorded the children’s speech. Pine found that although first-borns reach the
50-word milestone earlier than second-borns, second-borns reach the 100-word milestone
at approximately the same age as first-borns. While there is no significant difference in
Birth Order
the percentage of common nouns, second-borns did have a higher percentage of personal
pronouns and “frozen phrases” within their first 50 and 100 words. Pine concluded that
later-born children may exhibit some differences in their vocabulary style but ultimately
the quality and range of the vocabulary is not affected by birth order.
It is unfortunate that Pine was unable to periodically record all of the children at
home so that he could be sure of the context/situation connected with the speech.
Telephone conversations, especially with young children, can lack relevant information
and there is no way to no if the child is being coached. There is also no way to be 100%
certain that the mothers did not exaggerate their children’s vocabulary. It does stand to
reason that later-born children develop their vocabulary differently because they are not
only interacting with the parents but also the older sibling(s). Later-born children are
exposed to a different style of speech, more advanced than their own but less advanced
than their parents, which helps shape their communication abilities.
Personality is composed of several elements; far too many to fit inside the scope
of this analysis. Instead the focus will be placed on social abilities, i.e., sociability. Snow,
Jacklin, and Maccoby (2001) sought to discover if differences in peer sociability can be
related to if a child is an only child, first-born, or later-born. 101 thirty-three month old
children were observed during their interactions with an unknown peer and while coping
with a “frustrating situation,” such as a toy out of reach. The researchers found that the
degree of sociability decreases with each successive ordinal position within a family.
Assertiveness, which is related to sociability, was also found to decrease with each
successive child. Overall only children demonstrated the most favorable social
characteristics and at the highest levels.
Birth Order
There are some strengths and weaknesses present in this study. On the positive
side, the study was designed to examine several different ways of evaluating sociability
in small children. One weakness is that the experiment was conducted in an unnatural
setting. The children may have behaved differently than they would have at home or in a
more natural environment. There was not an equal amount of children in each birth order
category. Having merely 15 only children, 25 first-borns, and 61 later-borns (44 whose
next older sibling is less than four years old and 17 whose next older sibling is four years
old or older) represents a relatively small and unbalanced sample size. As stated earlier,
small samples are not an accurate representation of the general population.
Summary and Conclusions
The common thread present in all of the research is the importance of parents to
their children’s development. Parents are a child’s first source of social interaction and
that interaction plays a large role in development. Therefore if parents approach
parenthood with lack luster interest or stereotypical expectations then their children may
be negatively affected. With that said, even though the majority of the studies examined
here did detect some correlation between birth order, personality, cognitive development,
and/or achievement, that correlation seems to be fairly slight. In fact, personality,
cognitive development, and achievement may have a stronger relationship than any one
of them has to birth order. The issue might not be birth order alone, but the circumstances
that arise as a result of being in a particular ordinal position.
Birth Order
Birth order research can be used for parenting, education, and career advisement.
This information is useful for parents because it reinforces the value of parent-child
interactions. Although birth order alone may have some slight effect on a child’s
development, parents can alter that for the better by making a conscious effort to care for
each child as equally as possible. For some time now, educators and psychologists have
known that different people have different learning styles i.e. visual learners, auditory
learners, and kinesthetic learners. Birth order research may allow educators to further
tailor the learning environment to best fit the personality, and therefore learning style, of
each student. The relationship between birth order and occupation could potentially be
very helpful when people make career decisions. While birth order can’t guarantee that
every firstborn would be better as a lawyer than a musician, according to the research
discussed here, birth order may be able to give some insight into what careers would be
the easiest fit.
Proposed Research Question
The next logical step to be pursued in research would be to investigate alterations
in parenting behavior according to the number of children in the family as well as the
number of years between each child’s birth. It is often noted that parents are more strict
in their parenting of the first child, and then they become more permissive with each
child that is born into the family. In addition, older parents tend to be more permissive
than younger ones. As such, number of children in the family as well as spacing between
children should have an impact on the way that the children are treated. These differential
parenting behaviors might produce variable results in the children.
Birth Order
Herrera, N.C., Zajonc, R.B., Wieczokowska, G., & Cichomski, B. (2003). Beliefs about
birth rank and their reflection in reality. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 85, 142-150.
Kantarevic, J. & Mechoulan, S. (2006). Birth order, educational attainment, and earnings:
An investigation using the PSID. Journal of Human Resources, 41(4), 336-351.
Kowalski, H., Wyver, S., Masselos, G., &De Lacey, P. (2004). Toddlers emerging
symbolic play: A first-born advantage? Early Child Development and Care,
174(4), 389-400.
Pine, J. (2005). Variation in vocabulary development as a function of birth order. Child
Development, 66(1), 272-281.
Snow, L., Jacklin, N., & Maccoby, E. (2001). Birth-order differences in peer sociability
at thirty-three months. Child Development, 17(3), 224-247.

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