A study was undertaken to see if, through the use of story projective fables, data could be obtained about the change in selected sensitive psychological areas of an only child when a sibling is born.
Projective stories from the Fine Revision of the Despert Fables were used to form brief tests of the sensitive psychological areas of parental rejection/sibling rivalry, dependency and aggression/hostility. These tests were given, both before and six weeks after the birth of a sibling, to fifty children from families in the Santa Clara Valley. Criteria used in selecting the children limited the subjects to those who were old enough to talk, English speaking, under the age of six years and having no known deformity. Each was the only child of an intact family who anticipated the birth of a baby. The economic level of the families was about the same since the fathers were employed as skilled workmen in industry.
The children's responses to the story projective fables were studied for the presence or absence of the psychodynamic representing the selected sensitive psychological area, judgment being based on the work of Peixotto with young elementary school children. If the psychodynamic were present a score of 1 was given for the projective story and if not a score of 0. The scores were added together for the projective stories of each test or psychodynamic for every child and the score before the birth of the sibling was paired with the score after the birth of the baby to find the mean difference of the paired responses for each test or psychodynamic. From the mean difference the significance of difference was obtained by using the t score.
The increase in all three psychodynamics or selected sensitive psychological areas was highly significant and at the 1 percent level. This increase in the presence of all three psychodynamics, as determined through the use of story projective fables, was probably not caused by chance, but, since many other variables were held constant, by the birth of the sibling. This would suggest that children do change at the birth of a sibling and that this change can be measured.
Nurses are in a position to initiate and nurture parents' interest in helping their child during this great change in his environment and in himself. Nurses should assist parents in finding out how their older child feels and in utilizing factors indicated by research to assist the child with his feelings at this time.
Additional research about the feelings and adjustment of a child at the birth of a sibling is needed.
R. Maureen Maxwell
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Sibling Relations; Psychology, Child
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Loewe, Eveline H., "Change in Selected Sensitive Psychological Areas of the Only Child When a Sibling is Born" (1961). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1580.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives