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HopefulOne

Birth Order And Depression

Birth Order and Depression   772 votes

  1. 1. What's Your Birth Order Position?

    • I'm An Only Child
      79
    • I'm An Oldest Child
      288
    • I'm A Middle Child
      156
    • I'm A Youngest Child
      249

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

220 posts in this topic

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I've been a little curious about better understanding the relationship (if any) between birth order and depression. Do first born children experience depression more? Do middles? Do youngests?

I'm experiencing my first major depressive episode as a 30-something. I'm a youngest. You?

HopefulOne

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Youngest child....

Lots of very bossy older siblings. LOL!!!

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youngest

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Oldest. I had to take care of my younger sister before and after school (and sometimes until night) while my parents worked.

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This is such an interesting question, HopefulOne, that I looked into it a bit. From what I can tell, science hasn't found any clear link between birth order and depression/anxiety.

In 1962, a researcher (Schachter) found that when placed in high anxiety situations, first-born children experience MORE anxiety than later-born children. But when the study was replicated the same year by another researcher (Weller), NO difference was found in the anxiety levels between first-borns and later-borns.

Another researcher (Ingram) started a study with the premise that the oldest children in a family would have higher anxiety due to increased responsibility, striving for perfection, etc. Students from a General Psych class were asked to fill out a survey. Result: Birth order did NOT influence a person's anxiety level. But Ingram noted that her sample was small.

One 1988 study, on much younger kids, DID find a link with birth order and anxiety/depression. Researchers at the Univ of Southern Mississippi gave the Children's Depression Inventory, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children, and the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale to over 400 kids ages 7-12. Firstborn children scored SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER on depression than second-, third-, fourth-born, and youngest children. And firstborns showed SIGNIFICANTLY LESS trait anxiety than third-born children. First-born children also showed significantly higher levels of self-esteem than second-born and youngest children. Girls in this study showed significantly more trait anxiety than boys.

But no such results were found after one of the biggest studies ever in 2002 (Guastello & Guastello). They worked with a sample of over 500 college students and tried to see if birth order could be linked to things like "self-esteem" and "emotional stability." They found NO such personality differences based on birth order. (However, they found considerable evidence that oldest and only children have greater academic success.)

There are some studies that show a U-shaped result, in which the oldest and youngest kids get most of the parents

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I've been a little curious about better understanding the relationship (if any) between birth order and depression. Do first born children experience depression more? Do middles? Do youngests?

I'm experiencing my first major depressive episode as a 30-something. I'm a youngest. You?

HopefulOne

I'm the oldest of 3 and had my first "understood" depressive episode (crying, vomiting, general despair) when I was 33. When it returned a year later (9/11 kind of set it off) I was finally able to understand and accept it and get help. My younger sister (the middle child) has also been in therapy.

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Middle child, just always got treated differently>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>maybe because I was girl :hearts:

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Im the youngest, and experiencing my depression episode's in my 20's

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I am an only child though my circumstance is a bit skewed.

My mother passed away suddenly 17 years ago. When my father remarried in '93, my stepmother had two children from a previous marriage that were 3 years younder than I, and 6 months younger than I.

My father and stepmother regularly visit her children and their families -both her sons are married with children, wheras I rarely get a visit from my father. I am single (but dating) and without kids. This past year was the first time Ive seen him in 4 years. I feel as though he has pushed away everything including myself that had anything to do with my mother which leaves me many times feeling isolated (I live 1200 miles away from my father)

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Oldest of four boys, only I have depression/anxiety.

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I'm the youngest. I started having severe depressive episodes when I was 19, but had more mild ones throughout my teenage years.

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:hearts:

missing my boys

I am so sad, I have been going through a rough time sadness is my best friend right now. Can't sleep and I have dreams of loosing them, I can't keep going like I am.. I have lost 35 pounds and I am still loosing.. Not trying to. I had my bladder removed in October and I am still recovering from that. My ex-husband doesn't let me see my 2 wonderful boys and I am so sad because I have not done anything to him to deserve this, He knows I suffer from bi-polar and Post tramatic syndrome, I have depression... I have been sick for 5 years and I am not getting any better. I have Interstitial Cystistis, and I have chronic fatigue syndrome, and I am so depressed.. Oh, I feel so alone I wish I could fly away.. and never hurt again.. I just don't understand why I have to suffer so much.. I believe in God,, He is what keeps me going, Please pray for me, I am so alone, Kimberly

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as a student of birth order, this is a fascinating question. however, in patterns of depression occurring, nurture would have a bit to do with it as well as biological make-up, therefore i cannot see where one theory would fit all in this instance.

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Oldest

I was an only child till I was about 13

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:hearts:

missing my boys

I am so sad, I have been going through a rough time sadness is my best friend right now. Can't sleep and I have dreams of loosing them, I can't keep going like I am.. I have lost 35 pounds and I am still loosing.. Not trying to. I had my bladder removed in October and I am still recovering from that. My ex-husband doesn't let me see my 2 wonderful boys and I am so sad because I have not done anything to him to deserve this, He knows I suffer from bi-polar and Post tramatic syndrome, I have depression... I have been sick for 5 years and I am not getting any better. I have Interstitial Cystistis, and I have chronic fatigue syndrome, and I am so depressed.. Oh, I feel so alone I wish I could fly away.. and never hurt again.. I just don't understand why I have to suffer so much.. I believe in God,, He is what keeps me going, Please pray for me, I am so alone, Kimberly

Kimberly,

You have been through a great deal of pain; it's OK to feel sorrow for events like this. This is a wonderful safe place where people support each other. Please remember that you are not alone out there and please keep posting; we are listening and praying for you.

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:hearts:

missing my boys

I am so sad, I have been going through a rough time sadness is my best friend right now. Can't sleep and I have dreams of loosing them, I can't keep going like I am.. I have lost 35 pounds and I am still loosing.. Not trying to. I had my bladder removed in October and I am still recovering from that. My ex-husband doesn't let me see my 2 wonderful boys and I am so sad because I have not done anything to him to deserve this, He knows I suffer from bi-polar and Post tramatic syndrome, I have depression... I have been sick for 5 years and I am not getting any better. I have Interstitial Cystistis, and I have chronic fatigue syndrome, and I am so depressed.. Oh, I feel so alone I wish I could fly away.. and never hurt again.. I just don't understand why I have to suffer so much.. I believe in God,, He is what keeps me going, Please pray for me, I am so alone, Kimberly

You deep and intense pain is present in every word you write. (((((Kimberly))))) You know that I am suppose to say that with God inside, you are never alone, but sometimes those are just nice words that do not seem true.

Dear God, Kimberly feels alone. Feeling alone is one of the worse feelings we know. You, Lord, know the feeling also. "Why have You forsaken me?" You cried out before dieing. Please meet Kimberly deep inside of her sorrow. Please comfort her Father. It is hard to be human Lord. When we do not feel Your presence, we rely on faith and belief, and when we lack faith is when we need it the most. Please show Kimberly the good that You will bring to her because we know that all things work for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. Her body is in pain as well. Please restore her body to perfect health if You will. All this and more I ask in the name of Jesus, Your son, our Lord, and through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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It is said that the middle child of 3 suffers - they are the baby until the 3rd child arrives ....... why that should make any difference unless there is a huge gap between each birth I could never understand. I think it's general nuture and circumstances plus a bit of genetics that cause depression. Especially as people become depressed at many different ages ...... I am the eldest of 2, I have nothing in common with my sister, I had depression as a teen which I dealt with and depression in my 30s which needed medication. Lots of different reasons, I was in different situations, time and place .........

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I am the oldest, but my brother and I are 11 years apart. Due to this big age difference, we each were raised almost as only children. I have no idea what, if anything, this says about my illness. Any thoughts?

-Bean

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No room for twins?! I am a twin!!!!!!

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Dear Lost In The Past,

I took care of my Dad and brothers while my Mom worked afternoons. My Dad came home and ate, slept and back to his business. I know what it's like to have no life when growing up with too much responsibility and I think it makes for anxious adults. I think we learn that we're responsible with little developed coping skills because we're just children. I know I can handle tons of responsibility as an adult, but that doesn't help my anxiety disorder, does it?

Anyhow, I'm the middle of two boys and my older brother had depression and anxiety. I think it may have something to do with whether or not you had parents home to raise you, too. Mine both worked because they had to. Not because they wanted gops of money. We we're lucky to get by.

I was the only girl, so I got things because of that. My oldest brother got things because he was first. I understand these things better now, that I have my own children. My daughter that is the oldest gets things because she's the oldest. My son in the middle is the only boy and gets things because he's our only son. My youngest daughter gets things because she's the baby. I think she gets a raw deal because I no longer do different things that I did when the other two were real young. It was easier to do things with two who were the same age, so I am still doing these little things for the youngest. It's confusing as a parent and I have to sort things out or someone will get ignored. I guess I pay big attention to these details because of how I was raised.

Jackie

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No room for twins?! I am a twin!!!!!!

Just curious, Jamie...does your twin also suffer depression?

:hearts:

-Bean

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No room for twins?! I am a twin!!!!!!

Just curious, Jamie...does your twin also suffer depression?

:hearts:

-Bean

She tends to as well, but she's stronger than me, and manages better. Could be women are just stronger... Besides, she has a daughter, and perhaps is because of her as well if she is such a fighter...

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She tends to as well, but she's stronger than me, and manages better. Could be women are just stronger... Besides, she has a daughter, and perhaps is because of her as well if she is such a fighter...

Good point, Jamie. I have an older sister who is similar to me emotionally, but she has a family, devoted husband, two bright and adorable kids, and the sweetest dog you've ever met. It really fills her life with meaning. She's told me many times that if she didn't have that, she wouldn't be able to function.

This raises an important issue about gay children like us. We generally don't have the same societal and familial support that our straight siblings have. My older brother is also gay, and he's been wandering, unfulfilled for most of his life. I think that being gay really increases the chances of being depressed. Not because it's wrong of course, but because it can be lonely and exhausting.

:shocked::hearts::shocked: (((((((Jamie))))))) :blush21::bump::tear2:

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im an only child. 1st what i now think was depressive episode at about 9-10, diagnosed at 17, 31 now. Fow me i think its a genetic thing....its just in me. dnt think its got anything to do with being an only child or anything like that. is an interesting thought tho.

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I'm the youngest of three girls, but I also was molested at an early age.

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