Mom’s favourite child more likely to be depressed

By Samantha Luiz
11 November 2015

Siblings tend to vie for the title of mom’s favourite. But a new study suggests being the apple of mom’s eye may not be a good idea after all.

Siblings tend to vie for the title of mom’s favourite. But a new study suggests being the apple of mom’s eye may not be a good idea after all. Around 725 adults from 309 families were involved in the on-going Within-Family Differences Study led by Professor Jill Suitor from Purdue University in Indiana. Professor Suitor and her team found that those who were emotionally closer to their mothers displayed more symptoms of depression.

'This cost comes from higher sibling tension experienced by adult children'

“This cost comes from higher sibling tension experienced by adult children who are favoured for emotional closeness, or the greater feelings of responsibility for the emotional care of their older mothers,” explained Megan Gilligan, of Iowa State University, who collaborated on the research.

In other words, being mom’s favourite child opens you up to being teased and picked on by your siblings, increasing your chances of being depressed.

Interestingly, the study also suggests these depressive symptoms are elevated when you have elderly parents.

This is because elderly parents tend to rely on their ‘favourite child’ more when they’re in their 70s or 80s, making the child emotionally drained.

And the sibling rivalry doesn’t stop either.

She added that this tension can continue even as their parents approach their late seventies and eighties.

“We find it particularly intriguing that siblings continue to engage in such a high degree of social comparison even well into their middle years,” read the report.

The fascination report was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.

Sources: telegraph.co.uk, metro.co.uk

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