Who Gets What and Why? Help Middle-Aged Adults Provide to Parents and Grown Children

Who Gets What and Why? Help Middle-Aged Adults Provide to Parents and Grown Children Objectives.Middle-aged adults engage in support exchanges with generations above and below. This study investigated (a) how support to one generation is associated with support to the other and (b) factors accounting for whether parents or offspring receive more support in a family.Methods.Middle-aged adults aged 4060 years (N 633) completed telephone interviews regarding their relationships and support exchanges with each grown child and living parent.Results.Multilevel models revealed that most participants provided more support to the average grown child than to the average parent. Yet, a proportion of the sample reversed this pattern, providing more support to parents. Mediation models revealed that middle-aged adults provided greater support to offspring because they viewed offspring as more important than parents and offspring had greater everyday needs (e.g., being a student, not married). Parental disability accounted for greater support to parents.Discussion.Discussion integrates solidarity theory, developmental stake, and contingency theory. Most middle-aged adults provide more to grown offspring than to parents, consistent with their greater stake in their progeny. Middle-aged adults also respond to crises (i.e., parental disability) and everyday needs (i.e., offspring student status) in providing intergenerational support, in accordance with contingency theory. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences Oxford University Press

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Subject
Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences
ISSN
1079-5014
eISSN
1758-5368
DOI
10.1093/geronb/gbq009
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Objectives.Middle-aged adults engage in support exchanges with generations above and below. This study investigated (a) how support to one generation is associated with support to the other and (b) factors accounting for whether parents or offspring receive more support in a family.Methods.Middle-aged adults aged 4060 years (N 633) completed telephone interviews regarding their relationships and support exchanges with each grown child and living parent.Results.Multilevel models revealed that most participants provided more support to the average grown child than to the average parent. Yet, a proportion of the sample reversed this pattern, providing more support to parents. Mediation models revealed that middle-aged adults provided greater support to offspring because they viewed offspring as more important than parents and offspring had greater everyday needs (e.g., being a student, not married). Parental disability accounted for greater support to parents.Discussion.Discussion integrates solidarity theory, developmental stake, and contingency theory. Most middle-aged adults provide more to grown offspring than to parents, consistent with their greater stake in their progeny. Middle-aged adults also respond to crises (i.e., parental disability) and everyday needs (i.e., offspring student status) in providing intergenerational support, in accordance with contingency theory.

Journal

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

Published: Jan 11, 2011

Keywords: Family Grown child Intergenerational exchanges Intergenerational support Parent Social support Transition to adulthood

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