Depressed Grown-Ups Can Blame It on Mom, Too


Of course, we blame most things we don’t like about ourselves on Mom (and sometimes Dad) anyway, or at least that’s what our shrink says, but here’s another one for the list: A recent study from Cornell University found that siblings who feel their mother consistently plays favorites — whether they are the favorite or not — are more likely to be depressed as adults.

“Perceived favoritism from one’s mother still matters to a child’s psychological well-being, even if they have been living for years outside the parental home and have started families of their own,” says Karl Pillemer, a professor in the Department of Human Development and associate dean in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. “It doesn’t matter whether you are the chosen child or not, the perception of unequal treatment has damaging effects for all siblings.”

Interestingly, 80 percent of older moms admit they have a favorite among their grown children, and 80 percent of kids say they always knew it — but when asked who was the favorite, most get it wrong. Which would seem to support the theory that it’s the idea of playing favorites and not being rejected as the favorite that gets us down.

Either way, this is still more proof that Mom’s power is far-reaching and not to be trifled with. Probably need to talk to the doctor about that.