What is „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“? Meaning, explanation, definition

Again and again, new discoveries are made in psychology, such as the „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“. In this, the oldest children or siblings usually feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. This is because they usually have to grow up faster than their younger siblings, for example. All too often, the oldest siblings already have demanding responsibilities, such as taking care of their younger siblings, that overwhelm them. They carry this overload with them into later life.

The „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ is thus described as a moderately severe developmental disorder, from which those affected sometimes no longer recover. In adult life, smaller or larger problems or conflicts with people in the immediate environment occur again and again. However, what exactly the „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ is and what triggers it, respectively how we encounter it in everyday life, is explained in the following article.

Definition of „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“

The term „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ comes from the English language and can be roughly translated as „eldest daughter syndrome“ or „older sibling syndrome“. This refers to first-born siblings who, while growing up, have to take on some of their parents‘ responsibilities prematurely – for example, as substitutes for working parents. These responsibilities, which are perceived as excessive in the form of babysitting, checking homework or running the household, can lead to serious developmental disorders if they are perceived as an overload.

The „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ is a relatively new psychological phenomenon, which has been increasingly observed in adults whose childhood followed the above-mentioned pattern. These people often feel overloaded and unbalanced in everyday life. The reasons for this may be the limitations of childhood and the poorer developmental conditions.

Word origin and meaning of „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“

The word „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ originated in the USA in recent years and was discovered by leading psychotherapists who noticed similar patterns in their patients. Namely, they often dealt with stressed or chronically exhausted adults who often experienced extensive responsibilities in the household, in raising their siblings, as well as emotional stress during their childhood. In adulthood, this often degenerated into an excessive sense of duty and overwork, which led to depression and anxiety disorders in some patients.

So the meaning of „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ is that it refers to individuals who exhibit this psychological phenomenon. Often these are individuals who had a stressful, very dutiful, and not very loving childhood. These individuals are sometimes (sustainably) less resilient in their continuing adult lives.

Use of „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ in different contexts.

„Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ was only recently discovered by leading experts in the field of psychology and is currently going viral, especially on social media. Overall, the following main uses of this term can be identified:

  • Social media platforms (such as TikTok or Instagram)
  • Psychology
  • Everyday life

The aforementioned areas in which „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ primarily occurs will be elaborated on more fully in the subsections below.

Social Media

On social media, it is currently mainly influencers who have diagnosed themselves with „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ or who have been diagnosed with it who draw attention to this psychological problem. The main aim is to sharpen society’s view of this impairment, which often accompanies those affected throughout their lives. For this purpose, short videos and pictures on the topic of „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ are made or the term is used in titles or hashtags and thus spread accordingly on social media.


In psychology, the topic area of „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ and other, social dynamics in interaction with growing up among siblings are just beginning to be explored. It is believed that there are other, psychological phenomena besides „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“, such as those involving the youngest siblings.

Everyday Life

The term „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ is also increasingly used in everyday life. Here it mainly concerns young families who have just been informed about the existence of such a phenomenon and who now do not want to make the possible mistakes with their own children in the same way.

Social classification of the „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“

Socially, the term „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ can be assigned to almost all strata of the population. It is not just a trendy term, but a new, psychological phenomenon that is only just being researched. Accordingly, there is still no knowledge about the term in large parts of the population. However, due to its uncomplicated titling, the term can be well understood by everyone – especially in the English-speaking world. In German-speaking countries, too, the term requires little explanation, so that it is relatively well understood by all age and target groups.

Critical view of the „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“

The phenomenon of the „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“, which is still quite new and not fully researched, sometimes attracts many critics. They often criticize that the „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ is just another phenomenon that is harmless in itself. Furthermore, the connections between a dutiful upbringing and constant overwork in later adult life are strongly doubted. Often, it is also the affected persons themselves who try to relativize their own deficits (through the experienced „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“) or to work through them. Furthermore, the „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ is sometimes not taken seriously by critics, because there are no comprehensive studies about it.

Conclusion on the topic of „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ and similar phenomena

In summary, the „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ can be defined as a new discovery in behavioral psychology, which mainly affects first-born siblings. In the course of their childhood, these siblings often suffered from a multitude of responsibilities and duties that were often assigned to them by their parents due to their age. Psychologists then noticed a permanent exhaustion or overload in the adult life of those affected, from which they suffered continuously. The „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“ can therefore be categorized as a moderately severe developmental disorder in behavioral psychology.

Related to Eldest Daughter Syndrome are Othering and Guilt Tripping, among others. While „Othering“ deliberately alienates persons or social groups, „Guilt Tripping“ creates unwarranted feelings of guilt in the persons affected. Both phenomena are, as it were, anomalies of social behavioral psychology and have only recently been discovered. The „Eldest Daughter Syndrome“, on the other hand, tends to address the early childhood to pubertal stage of development.

Autor: Pierre von BedeutungOnline

Hallo, ich bin Autor und Macher von BedeutungOnline. Bei BedeutungOnline dreht sich alles um Worte und Sprache. Denn wie wir sprechen und worüber wir sprechen, formt wie wir die Welt sehen und was uns wichtig ist. Das darzustellen, begeistert mich und deswegen schreibe ich für dich Beiträge über ausgewählte Worte, die in der deutschen Sprache gesprochen werden. Seit 2004 arbeite ich als Journalist. Ich habe Psychologie und Philosophie mit Schwerpunkt Sprache und Bedeutung studiert. Ich arbeite fast täglich an BedeutungOnline und erstelle laufend für dich neue Beiträge. Mehr über BedeutungOnline.de und mich erfährst du hier.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert