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The term ‘only child syndrome’ was coined in 1898 by American psychologist E.W. Bohannon in his study The Only Child in a Family. He concluded that behavioural traits in an only child are mostly negative due to overbearing parents, which include being self-centred, selfish and lonely. However, research throughout the years has concluded that while some of these traits can be synonymous with only children, it is not a medical condition.
“It is a myth. Using the word ‘syndrome’ comes with its own connotations. While there can definitely be problems associated with an only child, it cannot be termed as a syndrome,” says Dr Priyanka Puri, consultant child psychologist, Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai.
Porta: Happiest Health