First Advisor

Arthur C. Emlen

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Brothers and sisters, Sex role



Physical Description

1 online resource (69 p.)


The purpose of the present study was to find out whether there is a relationship between sex role perception, ordinal position, and sex of sibling.

Measuring sex role perception presents a complex problem by itself, since at a time when sex role expectations are changing rapidly, there is little consensus on precisely what constitutes male or female behavior. We were concerned, therefore, to avoid as far as possible subjective interpretations of behavior.

We decided to look for a sample of women who had already reached a measure of achievement in a competitive field traditionally dominated by men, and who were still available for questioning. Medical and rental students seemed the most appropriate choice. We wanted to know whether these women differed with regard to their sibling positions from their male colleagues on the one hand, and from the students in the School of Social Work, which has been traditionally a more female profession, on the other.

Questionnaires were distributed at the local Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Social Work, asking students to identify their positions in their families by indicating sexes and ages of their siblings.

It was found that a significantly greater number of female students are without older siblings than male students. These results appeared both in the medical-dental and in the social work sample. When older siblings were divided by sex, it was found that this relationship is stronger for opposite sex siblings than for same sex siblings.

It was concluded that having older siblings is a handicap for a female wishing to go to graduate school, but not for a male, and that having older brothers is somewhat more of a handicap for her than having older sisters.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Social Work Commons