What is eldest daughter syndrome? Is it a real condition?

Key Takeaways

  • Eldest daughter syndrome describes the responsibility eldest daughters are often given in a family and how that shapes them. But this Northeastern professor says birth order and gender aren’t “a horoscope.”

By Erin Kayata

Who plans the agenda for vacations in your family? Who’s the first to step up to care for mom and dad or grandma and grandpa? Who’s the one organizing family holidays? Chances are if you have an older sister, it’s her. And if she’s the only one in your family doing this, she may have “eldest daughter syndrome.”

In a viral video on TikTok, licensed family and marriage therapist Kati Morton broke down the eight “symptoms” of “eldest daughter syndrome.” They include feeling an intense sense of responsibility for others, having an inclination toward overachieving, struggles with anxiety, people-pleasing, and placing boundaries, feelings of guilt, having a difficult time with adult relationships and having feelings of resentment toward your siblings and parents.

Eldest daughter syndrome is not a real diagnosable condition, says Laurie Kramer, a professor of applied psychology at Northeastern University. Nor does one’s birth order and gender mean they will automatically have certain traits or roles within the family. But Kramer, whose research focuses on sibling relationships, said that many eldest daughters do end up taking on duties without recognition due to societal norms.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.