“Favorite Child” More Likely to Be Depressed
People who see themselves as their mother’s “favorite child” may actually have a higher risk of depression.
That's the conclusion of a new study published in the _Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. _Researchers from Purdue University looked at 725 adult children from 309 families who were a part of the Within-Family Differences Study--a longitudinal project designed to better understand the relationship between parents and their adult children.
The researchers looked at data on four measures of favoritism and disfavoritism, including children's perception of emotional closeness with their mother, their perception of conflict, their perception of pride from their mother, and their perception of disappointment. The team also assessed depressive symptoms among the children.
The results showed that the highest reports of depressive symptoms came from adult children who believed they were emotionally closer to their mother than their siblings and those who believed they were the sibling in which their mother was most disappointed.
The team believes that the depressive symptoms in these children may be the result of sibling rivalryor from greater feelings of responsibility for aging mothers.