ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (6): 863-873.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00863

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

And baby makes four: Biological and psychological changes and influential factors of firstborn’s adjustment to transition to siblinghood

CHEN Bin-Bin1; WANG Yan1; LIANG Ji2; TONG Lian2   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China) (2 School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China)
  • Received:2015-08-24 Online:2016-06-15 Published:2016-06-15
  • Contact: CHEN Bin-Bin, E-mail:


In the past few years, the news that reported the negative aspects of the two-children families have not been rare. Particularly, news has been frequently reported that firstborn children have difficulties in adapting the newborn’s birth and parents have difficulties in coping with the firstborn children’s adaptation. Do all firstborn children have negative reactions in response to the newborn's birth? Do they have positive reactions also? In addition, no matter whether they have negative or positive reactions, who will be more likely to have such kind of reactions after the arrival of a second child? Furthermore, are there any protective factors which may promote firstborn’s adjustment and risk factors which may lead to difficulties in adjustment? To answer the questions above, this project includes three studies. The first study examines the biological and psychological change trajectories over time in how the firstborn sibling may cope with the transition to siblinghood. The second study will analyze how the potential individual factors (e.g., temperament and empathy) influence such changes. And the third study will examine how the potential family factors (e.g., parent-child attachment, and marital quality) influence such changes. The results of the project may have practical implications for the mental health education and counselling for families with two children.

Key words: family with two children, family transition, first-born children, biological and psychological changes