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Intergenerational relations across four years: wellbeing is affected by quality not by support exchange

Merz, E.-M. and Schuengel, C. and Schulze, H.-J. (2009) Intergenerational relations across four years: wellbeing is affected by quality not by support exchange. The Gerontologist, 49, 536-548. ISSN 0016-9013.

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Providing support to an aging parent may pose challenges to adult children but also provide an opportunity to “ give back ” to loved ones. The current study investigated changes in emotional and instrumental support and quality across a period of 4 years. Additionally, associations between intergenerational support and well-being in adult children over time were investigated.Data from the first and second waves of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study ( N = 6,062) were analyzed to investigate the relative importance of relationship quality and support exchange and to test the potential buffering role of relationship quality for effects of the changing balance of support on well-being.It was found that provision of instrumental and emotional support to parents increased during a period of 4 years. At the same time, instrumental support children received from parents decreased, whereas emotional support from parents increased. Intergenerational support exchange between children and parents was not associated with well-being in children, whereas the quality of the intergenerational relationship strongly predicted their well-being.Decreasing relationship quality seems a greater threat to the well-being of caregiving children than increased support and care tasks. Family counseling and public awareness to address this decline in intergenerational relationship quality may be important for well-being of families. Key words: adult child; parent relationships; emotional and instrumental care; affective characteristics; life satisfaction; longitudinal design

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Ned. Interdisc. Demografisch Instituut (NIDI)
ID Code:7519
Deposited On:28 Jul 2009 02:00
Last Modified:26 Oct 2010 14:22

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