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Does having sisters or brothers affect your adult personality?

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Share on PinterestDoes having sisters or brothers affect your personality when you grow up? A 2022 study investigates the link. Jessica Byrum/Stocksy

  • A new study investigates the effect of having a sibling of a different gender on one’s adult personality.
  • After analyzing survey responses from 80,000 people in nine countries, researchers conclude that the gender of siblings does not affect our grown-up personalities.
  • While a sibling’s gender may affect one’s personality during childhood, that effect is gone by adulthood.

Is it true that growing up with a sister or brother influences one’s personality as an adult? Some people may say yes and go so far as to explain how their siblings’ gender may have impacted their personalities. Researchers have also long attempted to answer this question.

Now, an expansive study of more than 80,000 people in nine countries has what appears to be the definitive answer.

Having a sibling of a different gender does not affect one’s adult personality.

Study principal investigator Dr. Julia M. Rohrer, personality psychologist and lecturer for the Department of Psychology at the University of Leipzig, told Medical News Today:

“To clarify — we are looking at personality in adulthood rather than childhood personality. This is important to clarify because it could be that sibling gender does have effects on personality while people still live with their siblings, but which fade out later in life.”

“What surprised me was how consistently we couldn’t detect any effects on personality. We disaggregated the data in all sorts of ways to check whether there were effects in individual data sets, or maybe for certain birth cohorts, or maybe only for firstborns, et cetera. But we really came up mostly empty-handed!”

The researchers work with survey responses from people in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Mexico, China, and Indonesia.

Co-author Dr. Anne Ardila Brenøe, a research associate in the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich, said to Medical News Today:

“Given my own prior work, I had expected that having an opposite-sex sibling would increase gender-typed personality. We don’t find any evidence of this, which was surprising to me.”

The study appears in Psychological Science.

Citing research on this topic going back to 1958, the authors write:

“A closer look at the studies reveals a number of potential problems, such as highly selective samples, a multitude of different outcome variables, and statistical evidence of unknown or weak strength.”

To help narrow the focus of their investigation considering the multitude of family sibling gender configurations, the researchers employed a concept from a 2018 study by Dr. Angela Cools and Prof. Eleonora Patacchini, which was used again by Dr. Brenoe in her study.

“Parents’ decision to have another child,” write the authors of the new study, “likely depends on the gender but also may depend on the personality of their current children. Thus, the ultimate sibling composition is not random. As a result, differences between people with a brother and people with a sister may exist even in the absence of causal effects of siblings’ gender. But when parents decide to have another child, the gender of that next younger sibling is essentially random.”

“This results in a natural experiment that allows for the estimation of causal effects of the next younger sibling’s gender: Differences between people with a next younger sister and people with a next younger brother can be attributed to the next younger sibling’s gender.”

The researchers looked for siblings’ influence on the Big Five traits — including openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism — as well as trust, patience, and locus of control, or the belief that one has control over what happens to them.

Based on the survey responses, the study found consistent gender differences between females and males. This allowed them to explore the question of sibling influence using what they call the “typical female personality index” as a marker by which to measure personality effects.

“Importantly, this index is not meant to be interpreted as an underlying personality trait (‘femininity’). Instead, it is simply an index with the highest weight on traits for which the largest gender differences were observed within the particular surveys,” the authors wrote.

It is worth noting that the Cools and Patacchini study found, “Women with a younger brother earned about 7% less than women with a younger sister,” according to the new study.

Cools and Patacchini found that women who had a younger brother more often chose traditionally female career paths and that, says the new study, “their wages dropped more drastically when entering motherhood than women with a younger sister.”

dr Brenoe added:

“Similar to Cools and Patacchini, I also in my prior work find that having a younger brother compared to a younger sister increased women’s gender-conforming behavior in terms of occupational choice and earnings and that the ‘brother earnings penalty’ emerge right after first childbirth .

My interpretation of these different results is that personality is a much more difficult concept to influence than gender-conforming behavior.”

The study looks at a sibling effect in people who have now grown up. Therefore, said Dr. Rohrer, “People included in our analyzes were born starting from 1950 up to the 1990s.”

Today’s gender roles in the home are more fluid than those of the last century. dr Rohrer noted that in Dr. Brenoe’s research:

“The effect of brothers on occupational choice, disappears in more gender-equal families, that is, families in which the parents have almost the same working hours during childhood,” they said. “Thus, it is plausible to assume that if traditional gender roles in parenting have disappeared, the effects of sibling gender may also disappear.”

“However, it seems that despite progress into that direction, we are still very far from abolishing these roles,” Dr. Rohrer added, “One way to look at this empirically,” said Dr. Rohrer, “Is to look at the impact of the birth of the first child on both men’s and women’s earnings.”

“For men, earnings mostly remain stable or slightly dip for a very short period in countries in which men are more likely to take parental leave. For women, there is a steep drop in the first years, and on average, they do not return to their pre-baby earnings levels. This is because women who have kids are less likely to participate in the labor market, more likely to work part-time, and their wage rates also tend to be lower.”

– dr Rohrer

“So the economic reality is that while economic inequality between women and men have shrunken considerably over the last decades, when it comes to parenthood, it still looks very much like women ‘take the blow,’ which suggests a rather traditional choice of roles, ” dr Rohrer explained.

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Women’s Health

Why I Invested: Whitney Port on investing in prenatal vitamin brand Perelel

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Perelel, touting himself to be the first OBGYN-founded prenatal vitamin supplement brand to offer targeted nutrition at each stage of pregnancy, recently announced the completion of a $4.7 million seed fundraise with notable participation from celebrities in business, fashion, and wellness.

The company’s subscription-based business model spans a number of product offerings targeted for the particular life stage the customer is in, including a conception support pack; prenatal packs for first, second, and third trimesters; packs for postpartum and early motherhood; and daily vitamins for women of all reproductive ages. Perelel also has offerings for men, including a multi-support pack and additional supplemental products for iron, libido, and probiotic support.

The Hills star and Cozeco founder Whitney Port recently shared more with Fortune about her own prenatal experiences and subsequent interest to invest in the company.

  • Startup: Perelel
  • Location: Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Year founded: 2018
  • valuation: Declined to disclose
  • investment level: Seed
  • Number of employees: Nine
  • Other major investors: The seed round was led by Unilever Ventures with additional investors including Willow Growth Partners; Gaby Dalkin, CEO of What’s Gaby Cooking; Marissa Hermer, restaurateur and owner of the Draycott, Olivetta, and Issima; Rocky Barnes, founder of The Bright Side; Julia Hunter, dermatologist and founder of Wholistic Dermatology; Joan Nyugen, co-founder and CEO of Bumo; Aimee Song, founder of Song of Style and Two Songs; and Ali Weiss, chief marketing officer of Glossier

Why she invested, in her own words

Since striving for child number two, I’ve become much more conscious about the ingredients I put into my body. In my research on prenatal vitamins, I learned that most supplement brands on the market offer a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, which neglects essential dosages and nutrients during the different stages of pregnancy and postpartum. After multiple miscarriages, I learned there isn’t just one answer or one solution to fertility problems. Each miscarriage I’ve had occurred for a different reason.

So, as someone who can intimately relate to these multileveled issues that Perelel is tackling head-on in women’s healthcare, I was immediately drawn to the brand’s innovation and mission-driven business model. After the birth of my son, postpartum presented additional problem areas for me and I needed a boost; Perelel checked all the boxes I needed. Now I know countless women who are struggling similarly and would truly benefit from the product.

Perelel is much more than a business venture for me, and the value proposition goes further than a dollar sign. Its products are intentionally formulated for each stage of womanhood by a team of top women’s health doctors, including my reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Andy Huang (who formulated their Conception Support vitamin packs).

Also, the intentionality behind building the brand community moved me. It’s much more than a customer base; it’s an intimately supportive network of women where we can lean on each other for emotional support and tap Perelel’s panel of doctors and experts for insight. Finally, for every subscription Perelel donates a supply of their own prenatal vitamins to underserved women in the US who lack access to high-quality prenatal care.

This is an installation of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.

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Women’s Health

​​While UI faculty are warned against even talking about emergency contraception, WSU will offer emergency contraceptives in vending machine

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Separated by just 8 miles, Washington State University and the University of Idaho remain vastly different places. Now in the post Roe v. Wade era, the differences are more apparent than ever.

This week, the University of Idaho warned faculty and staff that counseling students about abortion or contraception could lead to termination or result in a felony charge. The warning was delivered in a controversial memo that prompted a response from the White House. Meanwhile, across the state line, WSU’s student government announced funding for a contraceptive vending machine that will dispense pregnancy tests, condoms and Plan B, the so-called “morning-after” pill.

“WSU is part of a state system in (Washington) and Idaho is part of a state system in a state that is much more conservative,” said Mike Satz, former law professor and associate dean at the University of Idaho. “The workplace environment is very different for both schools and what it’s like to be a student is very different for both schools.”

The differences have led to confusion and frustration among students and faculty, according to multiple interviews and media coverage.

“It feels awful that my body is having to be used in a political fight,” said Alexandria Miller, a student at the University of Idaho.

Miller worries that the women’s health center on the UI campus will be restricted in the help they can offer students in need of contraceptives and counsel around pregnancy. The Idaho law mentioned in the memo also states that the university cannot dispense any emergency contraception except in the case of rape.

As of now, it is safe for Idahoans to travel to Washington to use resources, but that could change, Satz said.

“There are certain members of the legislature that have clearly shown their intent to want to control women’s choices, no matter where they are,” Satz said. “That is something that advocates for women’s health are looking at in Idaho because we’re very concerned about that.”

At WSU, a different political landscape

WSU’s Director of University Affairs Nikolai Sublett has been spearheading a way to bring an emergency contraceptive vending machine to WSU at a reasonable price. His inspiration came from an Instagram post.

Students were asking where to get Plan B and responses poured in saying that even though Plan B is accessible at places like Safeway, Walmart and Planned Parenthood, they are either sold out or are too far away from campus to be readily available, Sublett said.

Funding for the machine itself, which costs about $4,000, is coming from the budget of the Associated Students of WSU, while funding for the actual products will come from the student government’s Coug Health Fund, he said.

Sublett said emergency contraceptives will be priced at $15 a pill, $35 less than the usual name-brand price.

Excluding the $15 fee for the pill, bringing the vending machine to WSU will be no additional cost to students, he said. Sublett made a purchase request for the emergency contraceptives vending machine on Sept. 19 and hopes to get it ordered within the next two weeks, he said.

At least 22 universities around the country have vending machines for emergency contraceptives on their campuses, with at least 12 more in the works, according to an article from Bloomberg.

Safe sex supplies such as condoms, dental dams and lube are easily accessible on campus at WSU’s Women’s Center and the university’s Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, according to Amy Sharp, director of WSU Women’s Center.

Sharp said the only option for emergency contraception on campus costs $25 from the Cougar Health Services pharmacy, Sharp said.

“It just adds more accessibility for our students,” Sharp said.

Idaho employees unwilling to speak

Until recently, condoms have been made available on campus to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Now, they are only advertised to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, Miller said.

“It’s almost considered offensive to talk about the facts of what a condom is used for,” she said.

In media reports, University of Idaho faculty and staff are requesting anonymity when they discuss the topic. The memo urged staff and faculty to refrain from speaking on these issues until they know more.

The fact that professors are asking for anonymity in interviews speaks to a toxic environment in which faculty and staff are afraid to speak, Satz said. He worries the memo could also damage faculty-student conversations for students seeking resources.

“I cannot tell you how many times as a faculty member I’ve had students come with really serious personal problems, and they came to me in my case, because I was one of the few faculty members of color on campus and they knew that they could trust me,” he said. “In this case, I think it’s going to be very damaging to those kinds of situations.”

Satz, who left the University of Idaho in 2020 and has co-founded the Idaho 97 Project, which advocates for sensitive public health measures and an end to hate, intimidation and disinformation, has been outspoken on the issue. This week, he posted a tweet noting the university memo and the Idaho law cite language that was originally written in 1887 – when Idaho was still a territory.

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Women’s Health

ER Goddess: Low-Income Women and Women of Color Will Bear th… : Emergency Medicine News

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figures:

abortion, bias

FU2-7figures

Half of American women seeking abortions live on incomes below the federal poverty level. (N Engl J Med. 2022;386[22]:2061; https://bit.ly/3zYFcRy.) It will be these women—women who are least able to support a pregnancy and a child—who will disproportionately bear the brunt of post-Roe abortion bans.

In anti-abortion states, only women with the financial resources, ability to take time off work, and pay for child care will be able to seek abortions elsewhere. What was formerly a right for all women is now in too many states a privilege for those with money and connections.

My patients generally don’t have money or connections. I work in an urban inner-city ED where the surrounding neighborhood has a lower per capita income, more single-mother households, and a child poverty rate higher than 99.9 percent of the neighborhoods in America. (Neighborhood Scout. http://bit.ly/2Oc37XD.) I recently saw a 12-year-old who is sexually active. Her mother, who had just learned her preteen was having sex, brought her in concerned that she could be pregnant. What will happen to this 12-year-old and other girls and women who come to my ED when they can’t access abortion?

The Turnaway study offers some unsettling insights into what life will be like for women after they are denied an abortion. (Foster, Diana Greene. The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having—or Being Denied—an Abortion. New York: Scribner, 2021; https://bit.ly/3JsHBHz.) The prospective longitudinal study compared the trajectories of women who were turned away by abortion clinics because they were too far along to the trajectories of women who received abortions at the same clinic.

Still stigmatized

The two groups were similar in demographics and socioeconomics; what separated them was who got to the clinic in time and who didn’t. Interviews with the women every six months during the five years following their pregnancies revealed that receiving an abortion did not harm women’s health and well-being. On the contrary, carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term harmed their finances, health, and families.

The Turnaway study showed that women who were denied an abortion were more likely to end up living in poverty, be unemployed, and go through bankruptcy or eviction and less likely to have money for food, gas, or other basic necessities. Women denied an abortion were more likely to be with a partner who abused them and to end up as a single parent. They were less likely to agree with the statement, “I feel happy when my child laughs or smiles” and more likely to say they felt trapped as a mother.

Even teens could be criminalized for pregnancy if we continue on our current path of stripping women of their reproductive health rights. It sounds like a dystopian novel, but women have already been jailed for miscarrying, something that happens naturally in 12 to 15 percent of pregnancies of women in their 20s, a number that rises to about 25 percent by age 40. (Cleveland Clinic. July 19, 2022; https://cle.clinic/3oUNfIV.)

Brittney Poolaw was 19 when she presented to an Oklahoma ED having a miscarriage at about 16 weeks gestational age. She was asked about illicit drug use, and she answered honestly that she had used methamphetamine. The fetus tested positive for methamphetamine at autopsy. No conclusive evidence proved that methamphetamine caused her miscarriage, but she was sentenced to four years in prison for first-degree manslaughter. She was all of 21 by then. The autopsy reported that the miscarriage could have been caused by congenital abnormality or placental abruption, but this was apparently ignored. (BBC. Nov. 12, 2021; https://bbc.in/3Q3lKJ2.)

Brittney, a Native American, faced the same type of prosecution that many low-income women, drug-using women, and women of color will face if the current legal climate surrounding pregnancy and abortion persists. The majority of women with unplanned pregnancies reported to the Turnaway researchers that they had used contraception, but these women are still stigmatized, as if forgoing abstinence is a moral shortcoming and birth control doesn’t have a significant failure rate.

Supporting Women in the ED

Contrary to what lawmakers may assume, decisions to have an abortion are not casual but serious and agonizing, often made in order to take care of family. The Turnaway interviews showed that most women seeking abortion were already mothers, and their children were more likely to hit developmental milestones and less likely to live in poverty in the years after they terminated a pregnancy. Many who had abortions went on to have more children; their subsequent pregnancies were more likely to be planned and those children had better outcomes too.

Women who seek abortion after their state’s gestational age cutoff often don’t even realize they are pregnant until it’s too late, due to factors like irregular menses and lack of morning sickness, the Turnaway study found. Nonetheless, strangers will impose their morality on these women’s private reproductive health decisions.

At best, our low-income, marginalized patients left with no option but to carry an unwanted pregnancy will face the loss of life they had envisioned for themselves. At worst, they will face their own death from complications of pregnancy. None of the women in the Turnaway study who received an abortion died from it, but two women who were turned away died from complications of pregnancy. The risk of dying from childbirth is 50 to 130 times greater than the risk of dying from abortion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (N Engl J Med. 2022;386[22]:2061; https://bit.ly/3zYFcRy.)

Are we willing to sacrifice the people who gestate fetuses on the altar of fetal rights?

No matter our political or religious beliefs, we EPs need to be empathetic to patients who feel frightened and trapped by the disturbing trend of forced birth and criminal sentences for pregnancy outcomes. Our patients may not seek health care during a miscarriage or after an illegal abortion because they are too scared. We need to be ready to support them with whatever resources we can when they end up in our EDs. Sadly, we also need to be ready for more of them to come experiencing the medical emergencies that will inevitably occur when a common health care procedure becomes illegal and inaccessible.

dr Simonsis a full-time night emergency physician in Richmond, VA, and a mother of two. Follow her on Twitter@ERGoddessMDand read her past columns athttp://bit.ly/EMN-ERGoddess.

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