Within-Family Differences Study 

Our News

September 2019

Jill Suitor (PI) and Megan Gilligan (Co-I) were awarded $755,623 by the National Institute on Aging to fund the first year of T3 data collection for the Within-Family Differences Study. This phase of the WFDS focuses on the impact of deaths of members of the oldest generation on the health and well-being of their adult children and adult grandchildren.

 

 

 

Summer 2019

Megan Gilligan has received a 5-year K01 award to study the sibling relations and health in the context of dementia parental care (1K01AG061260-01A1; $621,509).

 

 

 

Fall 2018

Five questions with Jill Suitor, Distinguished Professor of Sociology

From Purdue

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May 2018

Has your mom said she doesn’t have a favorite child?

From TED

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April, 2018

Mom's Favorite

From THINK Magazine

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November, 2017

Adult Siblings Can Make Our Lives Healthier And Happier

From NPR

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November, 2017

Are you the favorite child? The science of favoritism

From Oxford University Press Blog

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November, 2017

Proof the youngest really IS the favourite?

From Daily Mail

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June, 2017

Parents Do Have a Favorite Child

From The Wall Street Journal

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June, 2017

Dr. Suitor talks about adult sibling relationships on Doctor Radio-SiriusXM110

From Doctor Radio

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April, 2017

Dr. Gilligan Receives 2017 Early Achievement in Research Award from the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State

From Iowa State University

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August, 2016

If You Were Always Mom's Favorite, You Need to Read This...

From Cosmopolitan

 

Maybe Freud was onto something when he said your mother is at the root of every issue.

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November, 2015

Mother's favourite child is more likely to be depressed

From TELEGRAPH

 

Researchers found being the target of sibling rivalry and feelings of obligation towards parents take their toll on the preferred child.

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November, 2015

Being the 'Favorite Child' Turns Out to be Worse Than You Thought

From MSN

 

It's a story every sibling knows by heart: Mom has a favorite. She might say otherwise, but you all know it's true. It's usually you, because you're awesome, but if it isn't, you know it, and you probably know it from a very young age. In a best-case scenario, Mom's favorite varies from year to year or even from day to day, depending on who is acting a fool on any particular occasion.

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November, 2015

Don’t pick favorites mom, it’s tough on the kids

From Redorbit

 

One might assume that, psychologically speaking, being mom's favorite child is far better than being the viewed as the biggest disappointment, but new research from Purdue University sociologists suggests that favorite status comes with its own negative consequences.

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November, 2015

Mother's Favorite Child Likely To Suffer From Depression, Says Study

From TECH TIMES

 

Being mother's favorite child has lots of perks; however, a new study found that it entails a payback consequence later in life. Researchers from Purdue University, Iowa State University and Cornell University discovered that the favored child in a family is most likely to suffer from depression.

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November, 2015

Sibling Rivalry Causes Mother's Favorite Child To Feel Tension And Depression: Study

From Medical Daily

 

Are you your mother’s favorite? While that may seem like an advantage, think again, say Purdue University researchers. Their new study indicates you are not guaranteed psychological resilience as a result of protective love.

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November, 2015

Is Being Mom’s Favorite Really A Good Thing? Read Surprising Study Results

From INQUISITR

 

Siblings often argue over who is really mom’s favorite child, but according to new research, the perception that one is the maternal favorite among siblings might not be a good thing. Bragging rights aside, according to research out of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, people who believe they are their moms’ favorite children are actually at an increased risk of depression.

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November, 2015

Being mom’s favorite can be super depressing

From FUTURITY

 

Being a mother’s favorite child can be just as hard as being the one in whom she is most disappointed, according to a new study that suggests the honor can weigh heavily on psychological health.

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April, 2015

Dr. Gilligan Receives Coe College Young Alumni Award

From Coe College

 

Coe College has chosen Dr. Megan Gilligan as the 2015 recipient of Coe College Young Alumni Award.

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April, 2015

Dr. Suitor Receives Purdue University’s 2015 College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Discovery Excellence Awards

From Purdue University

 

Purdue University has chosen Dr. J. Jill Suitor as the 2015 recipient of CLA Discovery Excellence Awards.

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July, 2014

Dr. Suitor Receives GSA’s 2014 Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award

From GSA

 

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — has chosen J. Jill Suitor, PhD, of Purdue University as the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award.

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WFDS in the Media

June, 2015

Differing values can create clashes between mothers, adult children

From The Boston Globe

     The bond between a mother and adult child is more likely to fray over clashes in personal values than the child’s violations of societal norms, such as trouble with the law or substance abuse issues, a new study suggests.

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February, 2015

When Aging Parents' Caregiving Expectations Can't Be Met

From AARP

     Eighty-year-old Millie had always expected, when she got older, that her daughter, Becky, would be there for her. But Becky now lives 45 minutes away, works full time and has teenagers to chauffeur. Though Millie's two sons and daughters-in-law live close by and pitch in often, she prefers her daughter's company.

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November, 2014

Your Adult Siblings May Be The Secret To A Long, Happy Life

From NPR

     During middle age and old age, indicators of well-being – mood, health, morale, stress, depression, loneliness, life satisfaction – are tied to how you feel about your brothers and sisters.

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September, 2014

Mom’s Favorite, Once and Forever

From AARP

     “You were always Mom’s favorite!” The taunt that siblings hurl at one another apparently turns out to be true. Even with adult children, moms tend to favor one child over the others, and the golden child often remains the same over the years, according to J. Jill Suitor, a sociology professor at Purdue University.

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October, 2013

Mother’s preference among kids tends to persist even when she’s old

From The Washington Post

     Despite what they may say, mothers have favorites among their children, and a new study finds that those preferences tend to continue into old age. The authors of the study suggest that doctors, hospital staff and family members need to take those preferences into account when decisions are made about caregiving and other matters for the aging parent.

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October, 2013

Mothers' favorite children are those who remind them of themselves NOT the most successful or best-behaved

From Daily Mail Online

     Mothers favour children who remind them of themselves over those who are successful or well behaved, a seven-year study has found. The study led by Jill Suitor, professor of sociology at Purdue University, interviewed 406 mothers aged between 65 and 75, asking which of their children they would most like to be their primary caregiver.

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October, 2013

Study: Is mom's favorite child always the same?

From Purdue News

     Similarities in personal values and beliefs between an adult child and an older mother is what keeps that child in favor over the long-term, and that preference can have practical applications for mother's long-term care, according to a Purdue University study.

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August, 2013

Dad at fault for rivalry in girl siblings, study implies

From Jconline.com

     When adult children perceive that their fathers favor any particular child, there is a higher tendency of sibling tension in those families, according to a recent study conducted by Purdue University researchers that analyzed the relationships between 341 children in 174 families.

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August, 2013

Study: When dads play favorites; the kids know

From Healthcanal

     "It didn't matter who fathers favored. When favoritism was perceived there was tension among siblings, especially daughters," said Megan Gilligan, a Purdue doctoral student in sociology who is lead author on the article. "Often the role of fathers is overlooked in these older relationships, but what we found shows dads do matter."

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July, 2013

Study: When dads play favorites; the kids know

From Purdue News

     Sibling Baby Boomers are likely to be more bothered by their fathers' favoring one over another than by their mothers' doing so, reports a new Purdue University study.

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July, 2013

You're dad's favorite

From The Society Pages

     A new study from Purdue University lends weight to the idea that, emotionally, children do not always grow up in the “same” home. Research by Professor Jill Suitor and graduate student Megan Gilligan builds on this with a bit of sibling rivalry: siblings are likely to be more bothered by perceived favoritism from fathers than from mothers.

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October, 2012

Your Mother Has a Favorite. It May Not Be You.

From Slate

     My twin sister and I were raised under a few blanket principles. The stove is not a toy. Use your words, not your hands/nails/teeth. (She was a scratcher. I was a biter). Your mother and father love you both equally. So I was surprised to come across this study all about favorite children, and how older mothers who receive care from the offspring they don’t prefer can suffer from depression. Don’t prefer?

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September, 2012

Study finds mothers prefer certain children as caregivers.

From Winston-Salem Journal

     Marie Wilkerson knew that when her mother needed help in her old age, she'd choose her other daughter to take care of her. "I think it's always good to have that discussion," said Wilkerson, vice president of in-home services for Senior Services of Winston-Salem and a registered nurse. "My sister and I have been able to talk about that. Each member of the family often has a different role."

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September, 2012

Older Mothers Can Get Really Stressed Out If They Don’t Receive Care from Their Favorite Kid

From Jezebel

     It's a fact that moms have favorites, like the son who became a dentist in St. Paul and visits every year for Thanksgiving, or the daughter who makes a lot of money as a bank president and can provide ritzy cruise ship vacations. These are some of the filial qualities that speak to a mother's soul. It shouldn't come as any surprise, then, that, as mothers age, they become less tolerant of their second or third favorite kids.

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September, 2012

Absent ‘favorite’ can stress out older moms

From Futurity

     PURDUE (US) — Receiving help from an adult child who is not the “preferred” caretaker can stress out older mothers, a new study shows.

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