SUSAN J. HARRIMAN
IN THE 1960’S, PSYCHOANALYST ALFRED ADLER POSITED WHAT HE CALLED “MIDDLE-CHILD SYNDROME,”
THE THEORY THAT HOLDS THAT BECAUSE MIDDLE CHILDREN GET LESS ATTENTION FROM THEIR PARENTS
THEY FEEL CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE AND DEVELOP DISTINCT PERSONALITY TRAITS THAT ARE DIFFERENT
FROM THEIR OLDER AND YOUNGER SIBLINGS.
You can’t get more middle child than our incoming President, Susan Harriman. One of
nine, well . . . no . . . five of nine, Susan has four older and four younger siblings.
Middle-child syndrome isn’t recognized as an official condition. But researchers who believe
– well, they believe that middle-children are more rebellious, less conscientious, and demonstrate
lower school performance than their firstborn siblings (Eickstein, 2000; Sarolglou &
Fiasse, 2003). A quantitative study by Gfroerer, Gfroerer, Curlette, White, & Kern (2003)
found that middle siblings have more difficulty getting along or working with others. Middle
children, they say, have low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority and diminished need for