Case Study: Does Money Just Reveal Family Dysfunction – Or Cause It?


In my experience, money matters are more likely to shine a light on pre-existing family conflict than to generate conflict in the first place.  However, there is no doubt that growing up rich and entitled can produced skewed view of the world that is both naïve and arrogant – sometimes with tragic results.

In a recent case in Texas, the courtroom psychologist successfully argued that a teenage boy from a wealthy family who irresponsibly killed four people in a car crash was a victim of his own family’s wealth, having grown up without repercussions for bad behavior.  He called the syndrome “affluenza’, a term that was then picked up by the popular media. 

Upon closer scrutiny, however, the article suggests that even more insidious family dynamics than economic privilege likely were at work…