Multiple Parent–Adult Child Relations and Well-Being in Middle and Later Life

Multiple Parent–Adult Child Relations and Well-Being in Middle and Later Life Objectives. Despite the centrality of parent–adult child relations, prior research has found only weak associations with parent well-being. There is a need to give more explicit attention to the relations of parents with multiple children and to the potentially mixed or “ambivalent” nature of those relations. These patterns may differ for mothers and fathers. Methods. Wave 1 of the National Survey of Families and Households provided detailed information on relations between parents and each of their adult children. The sample included 2,270 persons aged 50+ who had at least one child aged 19+. Results. Measures across multiple adult children uncovered more mixed patterns of “collective ambivalence” that included lesser quality and/or contact with at least some children. The presence of less positive relations with any children was consistently, albeit modestly, related to lower parent well-being. Mothers reported higher “maximum” quality and interaction across children, but mothers and father did not differ in “minimum” reports. Associations between parent–child relations and well-being were similar for mothers and fathers. Discussion. Analyses that incorporate the relations of parents with their multiple adult children, viewed as part of a family network, yield a more comprehensive and nuanced view of those relations and their implications for well-being. Key words http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences Oxford University Press

Multiple Parent–Adult Child Relations and Well-Being in Middle and Later Life

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 The Gerontological Society of America
ISSN
1079-5014
eISSN
1758-5368
DOI
psychsocgerontology;63/4/S239
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Objectives. Despite the centrality of parent–adult child relations, prior research has found only weak associations with parent well-being. There is a need to give more explicit attention to the relations of parents with multiple children and to the potentially mixed or “ambivalent” nature of those relations. These patterns may differ for mothers and fathers. Methods. Wave 1 of the National Survey of Families and Households provided detailed information on relations between parents and each of their adult children. The sample included 2,270 persons aged 50+ who had at least one child aged 19+. Results. Measures across multiple adult children uncovered more mixed patterns of “collective ambivalence” that included lesser quality and/or contact with at least some children. The presence of less positive relations with any children was consistently, albeit modestly, related to lower parent well-being. Mothers reported higher “maximum” quality and interaction across children, but mothers and father did not differ in “minimum” reports. Associations between parent–child relations and well-being were similar for mothers and fathers. Discussion. Analyses that incorporate the relations of parents with their multiple adult children, viewed as part of a family network, yield a more comprehensive and nuanced view of those relations and their implications for well-being. Key words

Journal

The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social SciencesOxford University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2008

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