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Ambivalent Reactions in the Parent and Offspring Relationship

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Abstract

Theory suggests that aging parents and their adult children experience ambivalence (conflicting emotions) as a result of unclear norms governing the tie between them. This study investigated personality differences and relationship context differences in ambivalence, as well as the reactions of parents and offspring to each other. As part of the Adult Family Study, 474 individuals from 158 family triads consisting of a mother, father, and son or daughter aged 22 to 49 years completed telephone interviews, in-person interviews, and questionnaires. Multilevel models revealed that poor parental health and neuroticism in parents and offspring were associated with greater ambivalence. Surprisingly, investment in competing roles was associated with less ambivalence. Parents also experienced greater ambivalence when offspring scored higher on neuroticism, rated the parent as less important, or were less invested in their own spousal role. Parents' characteristics were not associated with offspring's ambivalence. Parents appear to react to their children's personality and achievements even after children are grown.

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... Se han reseñado diversos factores que inciden en la ambivalencia. A nivel psicológico, tanto el neuroticismo (Carver, 1997) como su correlato en la desregulación emocional de los hijos aumenta el nivel de ambivalencia en los padres a raíz de su preocupación por tener un hijo emocionalmente perturbado (Fingerman et al., 2006). A nivel interpersonal, también se encontró que los padres de adultos que no han conseguido logros vitales propios de la adultez, tales como estar casado, tener hijos y un trabajo pago, muestran más ambivalencia con ellos. ...
... A nivel interpersonal, también se encontró que los padres de adultos que no han conseguido logros vitales propios de la adultez, tales como estar casado, tener hijos y un trabajo pago, muestran más ambivalencia con ellos. Los niveles de ambivalencia también se ven afectados por otros factores tales como, por ejemplo, la salud parental ya que a peor salud de los padres mayor ambivalencia de los hijos (Fingerman et al., 2006). Otro factor relevante es el género. ...
... En tercer lugar, los vínculos intergeneracionales familiares más cercanos son experimentados con gran ambivalencia. En este sentido, el concepto de rol central (Fingerman et al., 2006) permite explicar tanto los datos cuantitativos como cualitativos, al indicar que aquellos roles interpersonales que tienen un lugar primordial en la definición de la identidad personal afectan más el bienestar. Las narrativas producidas en las entrevistas cualitativas ofrecen significados ilustrativos a los efectos de poder entender cómo se configuran estos vínculos que son representados como dificultosos en cada grupo etario y permiten observar algunas diferencias entre varones y mujeres. ...
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En este estudio se exploró el tipo de vínculo de la red de apoyo social con el que la rela-ción es más difícil según grupo de edad y género, y el tipo de experiencias asociadas a dicha relación. Se realizó un estudio descriptivo de diseño no experimental transversal, utilizando métodos mixtos. Participaron 100 personas de entre 20 y 90 años de la ciudad de Mar del Plata. Se administró la Entrevista Estructurada de Fuentes de Apoyo social para detectar los vínculos que conforman la red de apoyo y una entrevista semidirigida para explorar las que identifican como dificultosas. Los resultados mostraron que los vínculos dificultosos son los más cercanos, tienen un carácter ambivalente y responden a cambios normativos propios de cada etapa vital. Se espera que estos resultados apor-ten información útil para el área teórica y aplicada de las redes de apoyo social.
... We controlled for gender as there are contrasting studies regarding the role of offspring gender on ambivalent feelings. For instance, Willson, Shuey, and Elder (2003) found significant differences between male and female offspring while other studies found no difference in ambivalence reports between sons and daughters (Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, Lefkowitz, 2006;Pillemer & Suitor, 2002). Connidis and McMullin's (2002) ambivalence theory suggests African American adults are more ambivalent than European American adults. ...
... Children who have taken on more adult roles and responsibilities such as employment and marriage may report less ambivalence than those who have not taken on those roles (Fingerman et al., 2006;Pillemer & Suitor, 2002;Willson et al., 2006). Furthermore, past research shows that greater contact frequency is associated with greater feelings of ambivalence (Birditt, Miller, Fingerman, & Lefkowitz, 2009;Connidis & McMullin, 2002;Fingerman, Hay, & Birditt, 2004). ...
... The age variable included three categories: 0 (adolescents aged 13-17), 1 (emerging adults aged 18-25), 2 (young adults aged 26-29) (Arnett, 2000(Arnett, , 2001a. Only young adults up to age 29 were included as this study sought to specifically examine ambivalence over AMBIVALENCE 11 time among a younger group of offspring than previously studied (see Fingerman et al., 2006Fingerman et al., , 2008Lowenstein, 2007;Ward, 2008). ...
Thesis
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... While extensive and informative in nature, we argue that the current literature on marital quality and health is limited in three important ways. First, previous studies have offered narrow definitions of marital quality, tending to treat the effects of positive and negative aspects of marriage as a "competition" to determine which has the stronger influence on well-being (Fincham & Linfield, 1997;Fingerman et al., 2006;Uchino et al., 2001). In the current study, we expand on the conceptualization of marital quality and following recent research by Hseih and Hawkley (2018), construct a typology of marriage type that offers a unique look into the synergistic relationship between positive and negative marital qualities and health. ...
... Evidence from clinical studies and survey research both show that negative interactions within a marriage often leave a stronger imprint on people's memory than positive ones (De Vogli et al., 2007;Lee & Szinovacz, 2016), and thus may outweigh the effects of positive interactions on health (Brooks & Dunkel Schetter, 2011). Yet, this first approach overlooks the fact that positive and negative aspect of marriages do not only have independent effects but may also have joint effects on health that each dimension alone cannot capture (Fingerman et al., 2006;Holt-Lunstad & Clark, 2014;Uchino et al., 2012). ...
... Previous studies based on both experimental data and cross-sectional survey designs have tended to show that people in ambivalent relationships report worse cardiovascular health (Holt-Lunstad & Clark, 2014;Uchino et al., 2001), lower self-rated health (Fingerman et al., 2006), and poorer mental health (Newsom et al., 2003) relative to those in more positive quality marriages. This pattern occurs for two reasons. ...
Article
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A large body of work has linked marital quality to the health and well-being of older adults, but there is a lack of agreement on how to best measure dimensions of marital quality. Drawing on a stress-process life course perspective, we construct a typology of marriage type that captures the synergistic relationship between positive and negative marital qualities and health. Using data from Wave 1 (2005/2006) and Wave 2 (2010/2011) of the NSHAP survey from the United States, we examine the association between supportive, aversive, ambivalent, and indifferent marriages for older adults that remained married over the study period on multiple indicators of well-being (depression, happiness, and self-rated health; N ¼ 769 males and 461 females). Results suggest that older adults in aversive marriages reported lower happiness (men and women) and physical health (men). There was less evidence that those in ambivalent and indifferent marriages reported worse well-being.
... Several factors play a role in adult parent-child relationships, including challenging personality features of dyad members (Fingerman et al., 2006), negative childhood experiences (Willson et al., 2003), differences over values, and strained communication (Clarke et al., 1999). However, particularly pertinent to our focus is research on transitions in parent-child relationships from mid-to late life suggesting that when parents advance into an age associated with dependency, ambivalence becomes unavoidable (Hoggerbrugge & Silverstein, 2015). ...
... However, particularly pertinent to our focus is research on transitions in parent-child relationships from mid-to late life suggesting that when parents advance into an age associated with dependency, ambivalence becomes unavoidable (Hoggerbrugge & Silverstein, 2015). Likewise, relationship reports tend to become worse when health issues emerge (Fingerman et al., 2006). Most very old persons live with multiple, chronic health conditions, and thus have substantial care needs (Jopp et al., 2016b(Jopp et al., , 2016c. ...
Article
Very old parents and their “old” children are a growing group in industrialized countries worldwide. However, virtually nothing is known about the nature and implications of this relationship constellation. To fill this gap, this study explored the challenges and rewards of the very old parent–child relationship. In-depth interviews were conducted with 114 parent–child dyads (parent age ≥90; child age ≥65). While both challenges and rewards were present, the balance of challenges and rewards was notably less favorable for children with more challenges experienced overall. Challenges reported by children were often characterized by references to children’s own advanced age and health problems, and the prolonged caregiving involvement due to their parents’ longevity. Health care professionals, policymakers, and families should be made aware of this increasingly common phenomenon, and specific services and policies will be needed to adequately support very old adults and their families.
... Different negative impacts of ambivalence have been reported from the literature, for example, it has been found that individuals with higher ambivalence are weaker on attitude-behavior relation as compare to low ambivalent individuals such as following specific diet plans (Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006). Ambivalence is also related to other behavioral problems like smoking (Wilson, Creswell, Sayette, & Fiez, 2013). ...
... The 4item scale is used to the assessed feature of both positive and negative features of ambivalence with reliability (α = .69) (Fingerman et al., 2006). ...
Article
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Purpose: The purpose of this comprehensive literature review was to report the available studies that link the variables of interest: ambivalence and interpersonal relationships. Through the CLR method (Comprehensive Literature Review), 17 relevant results were found. Future lines of research and limitations are discussed. Methodology: According to the CLR methodology, three phases make up a comprehensive literature review; A-. Exploration Phase: It has 5 steps 1) Exploring beliefs and topics, 2) Initiating the search, 3) Storing and Organizing information, 4) Selecting / deselecting information, 5) Expanding the search (MODES); B-. Interpretation Phase: 6) Analyzing / Synthesizing information; C-. Communication Phase: 7) Presenting the CLR Report. Therefore, this methodology was carried out in order to fulfill the purpose of this literature review. Main findings: In total 17 studies were evaluated in the result section; six qualitative studies, five experimental, four quantitative, and two neurosciences studies. The studies carried out to date of this research, suggest that ambivalence is directly linked to making decisions, achieving goals, and in how the individual perceives others and, therefore, what kind of attitudes take towards them. Interestingly, the literature review suggests ambivalence as a mediating variable that plays a vital role in shaping and developing affection, behaviors, and cognitions into the interpersonal relationships which have an impact at the individual and relationship level. However, it was not found study that measures the direct effect of ambivalence in interpersonal relationships. Implications: The literature reported till now, does not settle it entirely clear the type of link between both variables, whether this is a moderating, mediating, dependent or independent variable. Given that most studies are with multiple variables, it is mostly suggested that it is moderating. However, there is not enough evidence to corroborate this nature of the variable, much less, in the field of interpersonal relationships. Novelty: Being defined ambivalence as having mixed or opposite feelings, thoughts, and behaviors towards the same subject, it was found that the selected studies do not measure the direct effect of the experience of ambivalence in interpersonal relationships. As well as no psychometric tool was found to measure ambivalence within interpersonal relationships. The aforementioned gives clear guidelines for action for new research proposals, psychological interventions, creation of psychometric tools, and new theoretical frameworks. Besides, promising guidelines are detected through the ABC ambivalence model.
... Fingerman et al., 2009;Pei & Pillai, 1999), the negative part embedded within intergenerational relationships, such as adult children's negative life events or status, on parental well-being is relatively less discussed. Negative aspects of their children's lives might influence parental well-being through a stress process triggered by parental anxiety over the issues, given the strong "linked lives" of two generations (Fingerman et al., 2006;Ryff et al., 1994). A few such studies suggest that children's failure to achieve a socially desired adulthood status could act as a stressor for older parents and contribute to their perceived poor performances in the parental role (Birditt et al., 2010;Fingerman et al., 2006;Pillemer et al., 2006). ...
... Negative aspects of their children's lives might influence parental well-being through a stress process triggered by parental anxiety over the issues, given the strong "linked lives" of two generations (Fingerman et al., 2006;Ryff et al., 1994). A few such studies suggest that children's failure to achieve a socially desired adulthood status could act as a stressor for older parents and contribute to their perceived poor performances in the parental role (Birditt et al., 2010;Fingerman et al., 2006;Pillemer et al., 2006). However, what constitutes a socially desired adulthood status may be closely related to its sociocultural context. ...
Article
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Objective Drawing on the stress process from a life course perspective, this study examines the association between children's overage singlehood and parental psychological distress. Background Children's unfulfilled roles may have a consequence on parental well‐being. Parents may suffer from stress due to children's overage singlehood indicated by unmarried status beyond socially expected ages in some areas of the world. Parents may see it as their own failure to fulfill their parental role and children's failure to establish a family life. Method Drawing on data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, this study firstly uses Inverse Probability of Treatment Weighting to handle the pretreatment bias, and it is then further advanced by testing the potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between children's marriage formation and parental well‐being. Results The results reveal that sons' overage singlehood is associated with a higher level of parental depression. Moreover, parental satisfaction with intergenerational relationships serves as a mediation factor between a son's overage singlehood and parents' depression. Although economic support for parents shows no significant effect on parental depression, it shows a similar pattern in reducing the effect of son's overage singlehood on parental depression. Conclusion These findings not only demonstrate the reluctance for cultural change in marriage formation timing and gender‐specific role expectations on children by parents, but also reveal the interplay effects of cultural continuity and the modernization process from an intergenerational perspective.
... Conversely, one study found that both gender and marital status play a role, with the parent-child bond being especially important for unmarried men (Pinquart, 2003). However, other studies have found no gender differences in the effect of ambivalence toward adult children on older adults' well-being (Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006;Kiecolt et al., 2011). ...
... Intergenerational ambivalence is associated with loneliness in a similar way for both older men and women. This finding is similar to other studies that do not find a gender difference in the relationship between ambivalence and well-being outcomes such as life satisfaction (Fingerman et al., 2006) and depressive symptoms (Kiecolt et al., 2011). This lack of relationship may be due to a growth in the similarity of parental roles in more recent cohorts (Kiecolt et al., 2011). ...
Article
Objective This brief report examined the relationship between intergenerational ambivalence and loneliness in later life among a group of older adults with at least one child. Background Previous work has explored the links between intergenerational ambivalence and other indicators of well‐being but has not examined loneliness. Although studies show an association between positive and negative relationship quality with children and loneliness, there are conflicting findings, and there is also insufficient exploration of the role of gender. Method Utilizing pooled data from the 2012 and 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) (n = 10,967) ( https://hrs.isr.umich.edu/documentation), structural equation models were used to examine the hypothesized relationships, and multiple group analysis was utilized to assess potential gender differences. Results The results indicated that greater intergenerational ambivalence was associated with increased loneliness in later life. However, there were no significant gender or marital status differences in the relationships. Conclusion This study adds to the existing literature on ambivalence and well‐being by showing that ambivalent relationships are related to loneliness. Results underscore the emotional complexity of parent–child relationships and suggest the need for investigating the consequences of holding contradictory feelings.
... Ambivalence may arise in part because parents find it difficult to accept societal changes that have shifted their children's timetable compared with their own young adulthood. Parents (particularly fathers) typically report ambivalence towards grown children who have not achieved markers associated with adulthood, such as completion of education, marriage and securing a job (Pillcmer et al., 2012), In fact, one study found that when grown children reported that they were highly invested in their own career and their own children, their parents reported less ambivalence (Fingerman et al., 2006). In essence, even though their grown child may have less time for them, parents derive satisfaction from knowing then grown children are faring well. ...
... For grown children, concerns about parental health remain a key issue in the experience of ambivalence, even when parents are relatively healthy (Fingerman et al., 2006). Young adults may worry about their own ability to care for parents in the future. ...
... Ambivalence refers to the simultaneous experience of positive and negative sentiments about the same relationship (Luescher and Pillemer, 1998). Middle-aged and older parents report greater ambivalence toward offspring who have not achieved adult milestones (e.g., marriage or job), and older parents report more ambivalence regarding children with problems due to their continuing dependence and the violation of adult status attainment norms (Aldous et al., 1985;Fingerman et al., 2006;Pillemer et al., 2007aPillemer et al., ,b, 2012. The achievements of adult children can reduce parental evaluations of ambivalence (Kiecolt et al., 2011). ...
... "Three items were used to measure PCIA, namely, "I and he/she is very close"; "I can feel his/her love and concern for me"; "I am very happy with her" (cf. Fingerman et al., 2006Fingerman et al., , 2008Willson et al., 2006;Lendon et al., 2014;Gilligan et al., 2015a). All items were scored from 1 = never to 5 = very often. ...
Article
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Several studies have focused on adult children’s successes and problems and implications for their own well-being, but few studies have paid attention to their implications for adult children’s health outcomes. In the present study, we tested the links between perceptions of successes, problems, and their own health outcomes, as well as the mediating role of perceptions of parents’ feelings and intergenerational relationships. Adult children (n = 314; age 18–59) completed surveys on perceptions of successes (compared with counterparts, speculated how parents rate their successes, and compared with same-gender parent); problems (self’s, father’s, and mother’s); parents’ feelings (positive and negative); intergenerational relationships (intergenerational ambivalence and instrumental solidarity); and health outcomes [subjective well-being (SWB), psychological distress (PD), and self-rated health (SRH)]. Path analysis was conducted, a bootstrapped test was used. Results showed that perceptions of successes compared with counterparts were positively correlated with SWB and SRH; perceptions of successes compared with counterparts and perceptions of successes compared with same-gender parent were positively correlated with SWB and SRH via parents’ positive feelings; perceptions of successes that speculated how parents rate their successes and perceptions of successes compared with same-gender parent were negatively correlated with PD via parents’ negative feelings. Self’s problems were negatively correlated with SWB via direct ambivalence (DA), and were positively correlated with PD via parents’ negative feelings and DA, while mother’s problems were positively correlated with PD via parents’ negative feelings. There were no significant correlations between father’s problems and adult children’s health outcomes. This study underscores the importance of considering perceptions of parents’ feelings and DA in understanding the mechanisms of an individual’s mental health in family systems. This study sheds lights on considering an individual’s health in family systems and cultural contexts.
... However, relationships with mothers based on more intense feelings compared to those with fathers (Rossi and Rossi 1990). It is possible that mothers demanded more closeness compared to fathers in the sense of keeping up with kin, and were therefore more invasive (Fingerman et al. 2006), which might result in conflicts. ...
... This indicates that daughters and sons are motivated in the same way to support their mothers and fathers. The finding is consistent with other studies (e.g., Buhl 2009;Klaus 2009), which showed that daughters and sons are close together in their gender roles in intergenerational transfers (Fingerman et al. 2006). ...
Article
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This study investigates how different factors in regard to intergenerational relationships are associated with emotional support given by adults to their parents. The analysis focuses on adult children and their parents in a representative German sample. Data were obtained from the second wave of the German Family Panel (pairfam) consisting of 2064 women and 1841 men. Results show that transfer of emotional support by the adult children was especially associated not only with received emotional support from parents, but also with affection, conflicts, and expectations concerning parents. A moderator analysis focuses on gender and showed differences for the association between given support by adults and conflicts between mothers and fathers. For the offspring, no gender effects were found. © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature
... your father/mother understand you) on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (a great deal ;Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006). A mean-item score was created (reports on mothers: α = .68; ...
... Participants answered four questions about negative relationship quality with each parent (e.g., how much does your father/mother criticize you) from 1 (not at all) to 5 (a great deal; Fingerman et al., 2006). A mean-item score was created (mothers: α = .70; ...
Article
This study examined middle-aged individuals' reports of parents' behaviors commonly attributed to stubbornness. Middle-aged adults (N = 192) completed a 7-day diary reporting their mood and how often they felt their parents (N = 254) engaged in behaviors often described as “stubbornness” (insistent or risky). Thirty-one percent of middle-aged children reported insistent behaviors, and 17% reported risky behaviors by their parent(s). Daily reports of parent behaviors attributed to stubbornness were positively associated with parent–child relationship quality, parent functional limitations, and child neuroticism. Reports of perceived parent insistent behaviors were also associated with greater daily negative mood among adult children. Findings highlight the impact of adult children's daily perceptions of parent behaviors commonly attributed to stubbornness on the individual and relationship.
... Ambivalence toward a parent or child is a dynamic experience that changes across the lifespan. Often, ambivalence decreases for both parties after the child within the dyad has reached stability in adulthood (Birditt, Fingerman, & Zarit, 2010;Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006). Although these findings suggest that ambivalence should not be a particularly relevant factor in older parent-child relationships, other studies indicate that ambivalence may be high for adult children when parental health worsens or when the adult child has to provide care or support to a sick or aging parent (Fingerman, Haye, Kamp Dush, Cichy, & Hosterman, 2007;Pillemer & Suitor, 2002). ...
... and five items measuring strain (α = .89). The Griffin measure (Fingerman et al., 2006;Suitor et al., 2011) was used to determine an indirect ambivalence "score" with a higher score indicating higher ambivalence. The calculation of the Griffin measure is: (P + N) /2 -|P -N| where P is equal to the total score on DRS positive interaction items and N is equal to the total score on negative strain items. ...
Article
Objectives: The present study used Pearlin, Mullan, Semple & Skaff's (1990) caregiving stress process model as a framework to examine the comparative influence of two stressors: (a) intergenerational ambivalence as a unified construct and (b) dyadic strain, which is one isolated component of intergenerational ambivalence. Methods: Participants were 120 women providing healthcare and medication assistance to an earlier generation family member with physical and/or cognitive impairments. Results: Hierarchical regression confirmed that intergenerational ambivalence explained perceived stress in family care partners, beyond the variance accounted for by other commonly reported stressors such as length of caregiving experience, memory/cognitive and functional impairments of the care recipient, caregiver overload, family conflict and financial strain. Further analyses revealed that examining dyadic strain apart from intergenerational ambivalence may more accurately explain the influence of ambivalence scores on care partners' perceived stress. Conclusions and clinical implications: The comparative influence of dyadic strain versus ambivalence suggests that stress-reducing interventions may benefit from a focus on reducing care partners' experiences of negative strain in the dyadic relationship rather than managing ambivalence.
... This definition complicates existing understandings that conflate frenemy relationships with ambivalent relationships. However, rather than simply holding both positive and negative sentiments (Fingerman et al., 2006), this participant-generated definition suggests fundamental differences from ambivalence. To provide a more textured look at the definition, its various elements and representative data exemplars are presented in the following section. ...
Article
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Despite the prevalence of frenemy references in popular culture and the significant impacts these relationships invariably can have on our lives, frenemy scholarship is limited, contradictory, and often used synonymously with ambivalent relationships. This study draws from 29 interviews to develop an empirical definition of the term frenemy. Results illustrate that study participants conceptualize the term as a relationship, often negative, steeped in situational ties and shared social connections that outwardly appears friendly, but is fraught with underlying competition, jealousy, or distrust. This study offers a more nuanced and refined definition of the term and suggests that frenemy is distinct from and should not be conflated with ambivalent relationships. Articulating and exploring frenemy dynamics provides insight into the development and enactment of these relationships.
... Parental expectations are defined as parents' beliefs about what they want their children to achieve, such as academic success [39]. Marriage is a normative marker of adulthood [40], and parents always place certain expectations on their children's marriage. Taking China as an example, under the influence of Confucian culture, marriage is considered a social norm; therefore, people in the past entered marriage early [24]. ...
Article
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Given the aging population, various issues pertaining to the elderly attract attention, including their mental health. Using data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey (CHARLS), and adopting a propensity score matching (PSM) method, this study investigated the impact of offspring’s marital statuses on their elderly parents’ mental health. Parental depression was positively correlated with single and divorced/separated offspring aged 30 and above; this was not the case with widowed children. We then analyzed the heterogeneous influence of offspring’s marital statuses on parents’ mental health based on gender, region, and educational background, further expanding the research.
... Gerontological family researchers have produced quantitative studies that demonstrate, among other findings, that parents express elevated levels of ambivalence about their problematic adult children (violation of adult status such as marriage, completion of education, trouble with the law and mental illness; including Pillemer and Suitor, 2002;Birditt et al., 2010, Fingerman et al., 2006Pillemer et al., 2007). Parents' own sense of wellbeing is impacted by their children's normative successes, or lack thereof. ...
Article
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This study uses constructivist grounded theory to explore older women's responses to the unexpected need to provide financial, emotional and residential support to their adult children who were experiencing problems with mental illness, substance abuse and/or absence of employment. Twenty-nine American women (>60) were interviewed:55 per cent were poor and half were women of colour. Using the theoretical model of intergenerational ambivalence, three types of structural ambivalence are discovered: mothers’ reactions to their adult children's behaviour that violate expectations for reciprocity; women's dismayed reactions to their adult children's aggressive behaviours towards themselves as their mothers; and the women's struggle regarding balancing their role as a mother to protect their adult children alongside their wish and identified needs for self-care. All of the conflicts were expressed within the frame of their role of mother. The internalised mandate to be ‘a good mother’ resulted in many experiencing shame, self-blame and guilt, and this self-blame was an obstacle to reaching out for help. This study adds to the growing body of feminist gerontological research and examines the ideological and structural variables that influence the predominance of female unpaid family care-givers in later life. The dilemma for older women with troubled adult children is both personal and political.
... However, the opposite is also possible. Prior studies on parent's difficulties and relationship quality show that parent's life problems, ADL limitations, and declining health are directly associated with lower levels of parent-adult child relationship quality (Fingerman et al., 2006;Kim et al., 2016). Furthermore, health problems and functional limitations are associated with lower levels of psychological well-being among older adults (Smith et al., 2002), so parents with difficulties may also convey negative emotions to their children. ...
Article
Contact and relationship quality between adult children and aging parents are two widely used indicators of intergenerational solidarity and are often assumed to be positively correlated. However, the association between the two may depend on characteristics of the parent involved. Using Family Exchanges Study Wave 1, this study assessed whether parental difficulties—measured as functional limitations and life problems—and gender moderated the associations between middle-aged adults’ contact and relationship quality with their parents. We found that more frequent email or phone contact was associated with worse relationship quality for fathers who had functional limitations. For life problems, however, more contact was not related to relationship quality for fathers with life problems. The associations did not differ by mother’s difficulties. These results suggest that frequent contact between middle-aged adult children and aging parents does not uniformly reflect better relationship quality but rather depends on parents’ characteristics.
... Intergenerational ambivalence also occurs in the case of adult children when they face contradictory demands between their filial obligation of assisting their immigrant parents and the independence to pursue better opportunities (Lewis 2008). Fingerman et al. (2006) claim that adult children who provide instrumental support to their parents show stronger intergenerational ambivalence. However, understanding how intergenerational ambivalence functions in migrant families requires context-specific investigations. ...
Article
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This article focuses on the process through which intergenerational ambivalence is experienced by a group of adult children and their parents with an Iranian refugee background living in Finland. This ethnographic study provides an insight into how the families’ struggles to mobilize capital in different forms can contribute to their experience of intergenerational ambivalence. The study indicates that when the parents’ social, economic and cultural capitals accumulated prior to migration are not accessible or valuable in Finland, they become dependent on their children’s conduct. This produces a contradictory demand on the participants’ roles as parents and children, where they face difficulties in navigating their role expectations. The families in this study expressed a significant ambivalence in their intergenerational relationships associated with these stressful conditions.
... Ambivalence theory has been largely applied to parent-child relations. Ambivalent relations are proposed to be both supportive and stressful, provide solidarity and conflict, or invoke both positive and negative sentiments from the parties involved (Bengtson, Giarrusso, Mabry, & Silverstein, 2002;Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006;Pillemer & Suitor, 2002). A recent study questions this assumption. ...
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Background and Objectives Family ties and role relationships through their effects on exchanges of resources and social support are critical health contexts for older African Americans. We studied the influence of affect-based (positive or negative) social relations and respondent-role network centrality on depressive symptoms in older African Americans compared to two ethno-racial groups, Black Caribbeans and Non-Hispanic Whites. Research Design and Methods We used data from the multigenerational 2004 National Survey of American Life Family Connections across Generations and Nations Study (NSAL 3-Gen). For respondents aged 50 years or older, we used tie affect (positive or negative) to code family role relations and two-mode (where an entity or thing is connected to a different type of entity, here individuals are connected to role relations) family networks. We used survey linear regressions to probe the independent association of relations and networks on depressive symptoms among older African Americans as compared to Black Caribbeans and Non-Hispanic Whites. Results Negative and positive relations are significantly associated with depressive symptoms, but there were some ethno-racial differences. For example, the negative Father relation is significantly associated with greater depressive symptoms among African Americans, but not in Black Caribbeans and Non-Hispanic Whites. Negative two-mode networks (connections from individuals to role relations) are significantly associated with depressive symptoms among African Americans and in the two comparison ethno-racial groups, while there is no significant association between positive networks and depressive symptoms. Discussion and Implications We found that negative relations had larger effects on depressive symptoms than positive ones, and conversely that negative networks had larger effects than positive networks. Simultaneously modeling social relations and networks could potentially enhance our understanding of the links between social structure, and depressive symptoms among older adults in African American and other ethno-racial minorities.
... Studies have highlighted imbalanced exchanges and perceptions of inequity between the generations as major causes of family disharmony. For example, several investigations have suggested that an increase in parents' dependence upon their adult children may reduce positive feelings between the generations (Fingerman et al, 2006;Hillcoat-Nallétamby, 2010). Other studies have found that adult children's feelings of closeness and attachment are reduced when parents' health declines. ...
Article
Although research shows that most parents and adult children report generally positive and supportive ties, there is also evidence that negative interactions and emotions are common in intergenerational relationships. To investigate this complexity, researchers have moved beyond simple models to orientations and approaches that recognise contradictory emotions and attitudes regarding family relationships in later life. These efforts have given rise to what has come to be termed the ‘intergenerational ambivalence’ perspective. In this article, we explore the applicability of this perspective to the issue of family caring. We begin by reviewing recent developments in the intergenerational ambivalence perspective. We then discuss a paradox: although caring appears to be a situation particularly prone to conflicting emotions, little research has focused specifically on ambivalence among carers. We present results from our work that shed light on the measurement of carer ambivalence, as well as substantive findings regarding sources of ambivalence for carers.
... With respect to racial or ethnical differences, White American families tend to use passive strategies more often than African American families (Birditt, Rott, et al., 2009). In addition, adult children with higher levels of neuroticism report greater ambivalence toward their parents and may use different coping strategies in response to tensions with aging parents (Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006). Adult children may have different roles in their lives, such as being an employer or being a parent. ...
Article
Middle-aged children may cope in different ways with interpersonal tensions with their aging parents. This study examined coping strategies as a function of parent’s age and disability, and children’s emotions (i.e., guilty feelings and worry). Middle-aged children (N = 378) reported coping strategies when encountering interpersonal tensions with each of parents (N = 482): engagement, acceptance, avoidance and confrontation. Middle-aged children also indicated how guilty and worried they felt about each parent. Multilevel models indicated that middle-aged children were most likely to use engagement and acceptance strategies, followed by avoidance, and least likely to use confrontation. Results also revealed that middle-aged offspring were more likely to use engagement toward their parents who were older and acceptance toward parents with more disabilities. Further, when middle-aged children had stronger feelings of guilt toward parents, they were more likely to be avoidant and less likely to engage with parents. Worries about parents were positively associated with the use of engagement strategies.
... 세대 간 양가성은 부모와 성인자녀 사이에 공 존하기 어려운 모순이 존재하는 것이라고 정의할 수 있다 (Lüscher & Pillemer, 1998 (Raulin, 1984). 양가성 학자들에 따르면, 이러한 모순된 감정은 세대관계에 대한 상반된 규범, 즉 사회적 차원의 양가성(sociological ambivalence) 이 존재하는 상황에서 경험하게 된다 (Connidis & McMullin, 2002a;Coser, 1966 (Choi, 2014;Kim, 2015;Swartz et al., 2011 (Lüscher & Pillemer, 1998 Birditt et al., 2010;Fingerman et al., 2006). 이러한 방식은 양가성 개 념의 풍성함을 충분히 반영하지 못하며, 측정의 타당도와 신뢰도가 부족하다 (Lüscher & Lettke, 2004;Pillemer, 2004;Pillemer & Suitor, 2002). ...
Article
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Objective: In this study, we examined the psychometric properties of the Korean Intergenerational Psychological Ambivalence Scale (KIPAS) for young adult children. Method: Data came from 1,140 Korean young adults aged 19-34, who were never married and had at least one living parent. We translated the individual-subjective dimension of Zygowicz's (2006) Intergenerational Ambivalence Scale from English to Korean. The individual-subjective dimension had eight items that directly measured intergenerational psychological ambivalence (D-KIPAS) and 10 items that indirectly measured intergenerational psychological ambivalence (I-KIPAS). Results: The D-KIPAS and I-KIPAS items showed good internal consistency both for the mother and the father. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that D-KIPAS items loaded on one factor after controlling for method effects, which allowed error variances among the four non-reversed items to covary. Both the positive and negative items of I-KIPAS had good reliability and loaded on the same factor. The mean score of D-KIPAS and the calculated score of I-KIPAS were significantly but moderately correlated, which indicates that the D-KIPAS and I-KIPAS assess correlated but distinct aspects of intergenerational ambivalence. Correlations among D-KIPAS, I-KIPAS, and the proxy variables of intergenerational solidarity and conflict supported the discriminant validity of the KIPAS. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that both D-KIPAS and I-KIPAS are reliable and valid tools to measure intergenerational psychological ambivalence among Korean young adults.
... Situated within the desire for help, support, nurturance, and the countervailing pressures for freedom from the parent-child relationship, the family caregiving situation is likely to produce ambivalence for adult children (Pillemer & Suitor, 2004). Similarly, increasing needs of older parents for support often heighten ambivalence in intergenerational relations (Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006;Peters, Hooker, & Zvonkovic, 2006;Willson et al., 2006). Also, parents report more ambivalence toward their children when their adult children have life problems or fail to achieve normative life transitions, such as marriage and parenthood (Birditt, Fingerman, & Zarit, 2010;Pillemer, Munsch, Fuller-Rowell, Riffin, & Suitor, 2012). ...
Chapter
The parent-child relationship is one of the most significant social relations for many individuals. In particular, intergenerational ties to adult children often remain as one of the main social networks and sources of support provisions in later life. By reviewing the key literature on older parent-child relations, this article discussed the dynamics and complexity of intergenerational ties and their impact on the lives of older adults. First, we discussed theoretical perspectives that have guided recent research on intergenerational relations, including the life course perspective, and solidarity, conflict, and ambivalence models. Second, we reviewed the literature on structural aspects of the relations, including coresidence, proximity, and contact, and their implications for older adults’ health and well-being. Third, regarding a functional side of parent-child relations, we discussed the different types and implications of support exchanges between older adults and their adult children. Finally, our discussion concluded with the review of emotional qualities (i.e., positive, negative, and ambivalent) in parent-child relations and the factors that may complicate the intergenerational ties in later life. Our review revealed that the significance of parent-child ties remains with the changes in demographic, social, and cultural environments of our aging society, and the different dimensions of parent-child ties (i.e., structural, functional, and emotional) have important influences on older adults’ well-being, quality of life, and health. To better understand the implications of parent-child ties in later life, future research is needed to uncover the specific mechanisms by which different dimensions of intergenerational relations and health outcomes among family members are linked.
... When adult children become more directly or frequently involved in older adults' daily management, it may be difficult for adult children to provide autonomy support surrounding management. Although adult children may be knowledgeable about diabetes management, they may also struggle with a reversal in roles (from dependent to caregivers for their own parents), as observed in normative aging samples (Fingerman et al., 2006). Communication and autonomy remain important for both the adult child and older adult, such that older adults report greater life satisfaction when their children provide emotional support (Lang and Schütze, 2002). ...
Article
Relationships are linked with positive and negative self-management and illness outcomes for individuals with type 1 diabetes. Explanations for these mixed associations have remained separated in psychosocial research in type 1 diabetes by relationship type (e.g. parent vs spouse) and individual's age (e.g. adolescence vs older adulthood). In this conceptual review, we present a novel perspective that close relationships across the lifespan may be beneficial for illness self-management when they support individuals' sense of autonomy, defined from a Basic Psychological Needs perspective. Processes of autonomy support are crucial for promoting illness management across all ages and relationship types.
... Relationship satisfaction with family members promotes health by reducing the impact of stress and offering meaning and purpose (Umberson and Montez 2010). Parental relationships with young adult children, particularly children perceived as not making progress on the road to adulthood, are marked by ambivalence (Fingerman et al. 2006;Fingerman, Cheng, Tighe, et al. 2012). This relationship strain may, in turn, tax parental health. ...
Article
For many African American youth, the joint influences of economic and racial marginalization render the transition to stable adult roles challenging. We have gained much insight into how these challenges affect future life chances, yet we lack an understanding of what these challenges mean in the context of linked lives. Drawing on a life course framework, this study examines how young African Americans’ experiences across a variety of salient domains during the transition to adulthood affect their mothers’ health. Results suggest that stressors experienced by African Americans during the transition to adulthood (e.g., unemployment, troubled romantic relationships, arrest) heighten their mothers’ cumulative biological risk for chronic diseases, or allostatic load, and reduce subjective health. These results suggest that the toll of an increasingly tenuous and uncertain transition to adulthood extends beyond young people to their parents. Hence, increased public investments during this transition may not only reduce inequality and improve life chances for young people themselves, but may also enhance healthy aging by relieving the heavy burden on parents to help their children navigate this transition.
... Research also suggests that children's modes of acculturation can be mismatched from those of their parents (Telzer, 2010). Such differences often lead to an acculturation gap that can predict individual stress and family conflict (Birdman, 2006;Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006;Telzer, 2010;Tousignant et al., 1999). ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to elucidate Cambodian refugees’ perceptions of immigration-related stressors and their impacts on intergenerational relations during the processes of immigration and settlement. We used narrative analysis to evoke older immigrants’ voices as they transitioned to the United States. Thirty-one Cambodian immigrants were interviewed using open-ended interview guides informed by ethnographic tenets of data collection. Participants expressed (a) changes in family structure and elder isolation and (b) intergenerational ambivalence and elder’s dependence on adult children as products of immigration-related stressors. Implications of these results for refugee and immigrant mental health research are discussed.
... Research has identified correlates of these scores including appraisals of the other party and structural characteristics of the tie. For example, parents are more likely to experience mixed feelings regarding offspring who suffer problems or who are less successful in marriage or career [15,16] . ...
... Zou and Ingram (2013) found that managers who are high in self-monitoring-the extent to which individuals are attuned to social cues and are able to adapt their public presentation and behavior-are likely to view their relationships as ambivalent (in the form of friendships with competitors) because they are more likely to identify changes in relational dynamics across situations and are also more comfortable maintaining complex relationships because they can shift their interaction style to fit the situation. Similarly, highly neurotic individuals are more likely to have ambivalent relationships because they are attuned to and uncomfortable with internal and interpersonal conflict and contradiction (Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006); while this work was conducted in a family setting, neurotic individuals may form more ambivalent relationships in the workplace as well. ...
Article
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Workplace relationships are a cornerstone of management research. At the same time, there remain pressing calls for work relationships to be front and center in management literature, demanding an organizationally specific “relationship science.” This article addresses these calls by unifying multiple scholarly fields of interest to develop a comprehensive understanding of interpersonal workplace relationships. Specifically, in this review, we move beyond the tendency to pit positive and negative relationships against each other and, instead, spotlight theory and research associated with ambivalent and indifferent relationships, which are prevalent and impactful yet persistently understudied. We organize our review into four streams: sources, outcomes, dynamics, and measurement. We then advance existing workplace relationships literature by integrating the social functions of emotions perspective. In doing so, we move beyond the positive–negative dichotomy by implicating discrete emotions and their interpersonal functions for workplace relationships. We conclude by offering an agenda for future scholarship.
... Zou and Ingram (2013) found that managers who are high in self-monitoring-the extent to which individuals are attuned to social cues and are able to adapt their public presentation and behavior-are likely to view their relationships as ambivalent (in the form of friendships with competitors) because they are more likely to identify changes in relational dynamics across situations, and are also more comfortable maintaining complex relationships because they can shift their interaction style to fit the situation. Similarly, highly neurotic individuals are more likely to have ambivalent relationships because they are attuned to and uncomfortable with internal and interpersonal conflict and contradiction (Fingerman, Chen, Hay, Cichy, & Lefkowitz, 2006); while this work was conducted in a family setting, neurotic individuals may form more ambivalent relationships in the workplace as well. ...
Article
Workplace relationships are a cornerstone of management research. At the same time, there remain pressing calls for work relationships to be front and center in management literature, demanding an organizationally-specific “relationship science.” This article addresses these calls by unifying multiple scholarly fields of interest to develop a comprehensive understanding of interpersonal workplace relationships. Specifically, in this review, we move beyond the tendency to pit positive and negative relationships against each other and, instead, spotlight theory and research associated with ambivalent and indifferent relationships, which are prevalent and impactful yet persistently understudied. We organize our review into four streams: sources, outcomes, dynamics, and measurement. We then advance existing workplace relationships literature by integrating the social functions of emotions perspective. In doing so, we move beyond the positive–negative dichotomy by implicating discrete emotions and their interpersonal functions for workplace relationships. We conclude by offering an agenda for future scholarship.
Article
Ambivalence is common in close relationships, but the implications of marital ambivalence for later relationship outcomes have been less well known. Using five waves of data from 370 long-term married couples over 8 years, we investigated the influence of couple-level and individual-level ambivalence on marital satisfaction, marital instability, and divorce 7 years later. We also examined the couple-level process—whether marital conflict mediated the association between couple-level ambivalence and couples’ relationship outcomes. We found that couple-level ambivalence (i.e., couples’ shared perceptions of ambivalence toward one another) was associated with higher marital conflict, which in turn predicted divorce. Among continuously married couples, individuals who were initially more ambivalent toward their spouses tended to be less satisfied with their marriages and were more likely to consider divorce than those who initially had lower degrees of ambivalence. Altogether, the findings provide insights into the role of ambivalence in marriage at different levels and highlight the need for specific strategies to help couples resolve their ambivalence and strengthen their marriages.
Article
Given the importance of friendships throughout the life span and the possible experience of ambivalence within these relationships, the present study aims at examining the role that attachment and personality dimensions may play in this experience. University students (N = 87) completed an online survey, including the Big Five Inventory-10 (BFI-10), the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ), as well as a two-item scale and an emotion checklist as two measures of ambivalence towards their friends. The correlation analysis revealed significant correlations between the ambivalence measures and secure attachment, fearful attachment, neuroticism, and agreeableness. A subsequent regression analysis demonstrated that fearful attachment, neuroticism, agreeableness, and gender can explain a considerable amount of variation in the degree of ambivalence. The results indicate that both certain attachment dimensions and certain personality dimensions predict the experience of ambivalence, although their importance may vary depending on the object of ambivalence.
Article
This study investigated the relationship between the five‐factor model personality traits and parents' intentions to leave unequal bequests to their children. A sample of 1229 was drawn from the 2016 wave of the health and retirement study. As predicted by the study's hypotheses, the results found that conscientiousness was negatively related to unequal bequests, while extraversion was positively related to unequal bequests. Opposite of the study's prediction, however, was a positive relationship between agreeableness and unequal bequests. Although the effect sizes were small, financial planners can easily use these findings to better understand how their clients' personality traits may play a role in their wealth transfer intentions.
Article
Many LGBTQ adults have ongoing relationships with their parents that are ambivalent, typified by both solidarity (e.g., frequent contact, emotional or financial exchange) as well as conflict (e.g., parents’ heterosexism and cissexism). Yet, why LGBTQ people remain in—rather than end—their ambivalent intergenerational ties is under explored. We analyze qualitative in-depth interview data with 76 LGBTQ adults to answer this question. We find that LGBTQ adult children deploy narratives that privilege intergenerational solidarity over strain—what we call “solidarity rationales”— to explain why they remain in their ambivalent intergenerational ties. Four solidarity rationales were identified: 1) closeness and love, 2) parental growth, 3) the unique parent-child role, and 4) the importance of parental resources. Identifying LGBTQ adults’ solidarity rationales pulls back the curtain on the compulsory social forces driving persistent intergenerational relationships. This study also advances our thinking about how socially marginalized people cope with complex social ties that include interpersonal discrimination and stigma.
Article
The marriage of children is a milestone event in parenthood, while how parents' well-being evolves around the time children get married is limitedly understood. This paper examines the relationship between children's marriage and parents' subjective well-being. Using China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) data, we find that parental subjective well-being is positively associated with children's marriage. An examination of the underlying mechanisms shows that, first, children's marriage can significantly enhance parents' sense of security in old-age care and their confidence in the future. Second, the older the unmarried children are, the more anxious the parents who hold stronger traditional ideology will be. Third, parents will increase their consumption expenditure after their children get married; and compared with daughters, sons' marriages have a stronger effect on parental well-being. These findings reveal that parental economic pressure due to China's biased sex ratio and marriage squeeze is relieved after their children's marriage.
Article
Theory and research on intergenerational relations emphasize the salient role that mothers and their adult children play in one another’s lives. However, little is known about how mothers’ health may shape mother–child relationship quality in later-life. We utilized data from the Within Family Differences Study to explore how mothers’ functional limitations affect multiple dimensions of mother–child relationship quality, as reported by mothers and their offspring, with particular emphasis on whether race, child’s gender, or generational position moderated these associations. Although mothers’ reports of relationship quality were not predicted by their functional limitations, adult children reported higher ambivalence when they perceived their mothers had limitations. Further, adult children in White families reported higher ambivalence when mothers had limitations than did those in Black families. This study highlights the importance of considering the roles of structural factors in shaping the conditions under which health limitations affect mother–child ties.
Article
Objectives This study aimed to evaluate the psychosocial experiences in community-based dementia caregiving by assessing the characteristics of social interactions between family caregivers and community-based service providers and associated psychological responses. Methods Two independent groups of participants (family caregivers and community-based service providers) completed a one-time survey to report their social interactions and psychological states. A linear regression model was fit for each outcome (satisfaction, 10-item CES-D) while controlling for significant relevant covariates. Results Higher perceived levels of collaboration were associated with higher job satisfaction and lower depression score among service providers, and higher satisfaction with providers among family caregivers. Higher perceived social support from the provider was associated with higher satisfaction among family caregivers. Conclusions Participants reported varying levels of provider-family collaboration. The extent of collaborations and support exchange may have implications on the psychological well-being of those providing care to individuals with dementia including families and providers. Clinical implications It may be beneficial to identify providers and families who perceive low levels of collaboration and implement intervention to facilitate positive social interactions. Developing organizational culture and payment systems that value high-quality social interactions may help enhance the psychological well-being of service providers and satisfaction among families who receive their services.
Chapter
This chapter shows how data and findings from an academic case study of mother-adolescent daughter discursive interaction were adapted and presented to audiences outside of academia. The original research delved into conversations between a mother and her teenage daughter, identifying discursive strategies that diffuse or ignite conflict. We have presented our research to wider audiences in two veins: (1) workshops for au pairs as part of their continuing education experience in the United States, in order to improve communication between caregivers and children, and (2) talks with working parents, mostly in the business world, looking to maximize familial harmony. We adapted the data transcripts to eliminate the original, more technical conversation analytic symbols, and heightened the prominence of the discursive features discovered in the academic study with visual support and verbal scaffolding. The claims and conclusions, originally shared with experts within our field, promoted sustained dialogue and inspired meaningful exchanges among the participants. Along with these practical implications, our work also proposes the opportunity for what we have termed discursive consciousness raising. This increased awareness of the micro-aspects of talk raised participants’ consciousness of how discourse features enhance, or conversely hinder, mother-daughter communication specifically, and interpersonal communication more generally.
Article
Objective Building on symbolic interaction, this study was designed to examine perceptions of support provided by adult children to their parents (upstream support) as they relate to the parents' health, parent–child relationship quality, and support provided by parents to their children (downstream support). Background Adult children are increasingly participating in providing care for parents. Examining perceptions of this flow of support may increase family members' understanding of each other's perspectives regarding support, health, and relationship quality. Method A modified actor–partner interdependence model (APIM) was used to examine parent–child dyadic perceptions of these three factors on upstream support using the Family Exchanges Study (N = 273 dyads). Results Parents reporting lower health, higher relationship quality, and more downstream support were associated with parents' perception of more upstream support. Parents reporting higher relationship quality and less downstream support were associated with adult children's perception of less upstream support. Moreover, adult children reporting higher relationship quality was associated with parents' perception of more upstream support, and adult children reporting more downstream support was associated with adult children's perception of more upstream support. Conclusion Findings that parents' and children's perceptions differ, sometimes in different directions, indicates the importance of considering multiple perspectives in family‐based research. Implications Clinicians and educators should find ways to help parents and their adult children understand each other's perspectives to increase shared meanings associated with health and support in these relationships.
Article
Background More and more adults in their fifties and sixties are confronted with the need to support their ageing parents. Although many aspects of filial caregiving have been researched, a well-documented and comprehensive overview of the caregiving experience is lacking. Aim This study aims for a better understanding of the caregiving experience of adult children by generating an overview of main themes in international research. Method A literature review of qualitative studies, focusing on the experiences of adult children caring for their ageing parents, was performed. The electronic EBSCO databases Academic Search Premier, CINAHL and PsycINFO, and Google Scholar were searched to identify relevant qualitative studies published between 2000 and 2017. The ‘SPIDER’ eligibility criteria directed the approach. The quality of studies included was screened with the assessment sheet designed by Hawker and colleagues. The experiences reported were analysed and themes were synthesized. Ethical consideration Ethical requirements were respected in every phase of the research process. Findings Nineteen qualitative studies met the inclusion criteria. The quality of the relationship with the parent appears to be an important determinant of the children’s caregiving experience. Within this context, three themes were found: caregiving as an emotional rollercoaster, a normatively demanding experience and an opportunity for personal development. Discussion Children caring for their ageing parents have to deal with a wide range of contradicting and conflicting norms and values. Implications for healthcare professionals and future research have been discussed. Conclusion Caring for ageing parents is a continuous quest for giving the best possible care and living up to one’s personal values, within the context of the parent’s declining health. Professionals who support filial caregivers should address not only practical responsibilities but also the normative questions and moral considerations caregivers are dealing with.
Article
According to family systems theory, strains from parenting an adult with disabilities may spill over to parents' relationships with their other children and disrupt family dynamics and their well-being in later-life. This study examined whether parental ambivalence toward their nondisabled children is greater in families of adults with disabilities (developmental disabilities [DD] or serious mental illnesses [SMI]) than families without any adult children with disabilities. The study also investigated whether ambivalence mediates the associations between having an adult child with DD or SMI and parents' health. Data were from the 2011 Wisconsin Longitudinal Study in which aging parents (Mage = 71; n = 6,084) were asked about their relationship with each of their adult children. Multilevel regression models and multilevel structural equation models were estimated to analyze the data. Our findings showed that parents of an adult with SMI felt greater ambivalence toward their nondisabled adult children than comparison group parents of adult children without disabilities, whereas no significant differences were found between parents of an adult child with DD and comparison group parents. Parental ambivalence toward their nondisabled adult children played a significant indirect role in the negative association between having a child with SMI and parental physical and mental health. The findings have implications for clinical practice with aging families of adults with disabilities and suggest the need for additional research to better understand intergenerational parent-adult child dynamics in these families. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
This study examines the relationship between filial piety (adult children's filial behaviours and attitudes as well as elderly mothers’ overall evaluation of children's filial piety) and elderly mothers’ reports of intergenerational ambivalence (positive feelings, negative feelings and combined ambivalence) in rural China. We analysed the data from a survey in 2016 covering 2,203 adult children and 802 elderly mothers in Sichuan Province using a two-level mixed-effects modelling analysis. The results indicate that most components of filial piety are associated with mothers’ ambivalence, in that less ambivalence was reported by mothers when their adult children provided more emotional support to, had less conflict with and were evaluated as more filial by their mothers. Interestingly, mothers demonstrated greater positive feelings when their children were more filial in behaviour and attitude, but they also reported greater negative feelings and ambivalence when their children were more obedient, implying that absolute obedience to elderly parents might no longer be accepted by people. These findings may provide further understanding about the correlation between the culture of filial piety and intergenerational relationships in rural China.
Article
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This article examines the issue of siblinghood in older age. The author starts by referring to sociological studies criticising the a-theoricity of empirical research in this field. She proceeds to analyse the most influential theoretical approaches used to study relationships between parents and their adult children (i.e. the theory of intergenerational solidarity and the theory/ concept of intergenerational ambivalence) and to critically assess their potential to serve as a guideline for empirical research on siblinghood and provide a framework for interpreting research findings on intragenerational/sibling relationships. The article devotes more space to the concept of ambivalence, which, the author argues, is a more appropriate approach for exploring relationships between older siblings. It also presents a basic overview of the state of empirical knowledge on adult siblinghood.
Book
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The book is written in Slovenian language. Yet here is the Summary: In the monograph, intergenerational relationships are discussed along the lines of demographical anthropology (Chapter 1). The academic debates have proved the longevity of this research topic; however, the relationships among generations are constantly rejuvenated in discussions on social consequences and repercussions of current demographic trends, particularly of low fertility and population ageing. In the context of the latter discussions, the reader is informed about biased academic representations of the life of old people in the past which as a rule have forged simplistic images on unquestioned supportive relationships among the generations, living in extended multigenerational farm families under ‘the same roof’, in contrast to people from urban settings. Chapter 2 summarizes the recent discussion on the complex nature of intergenerational relationships and the established approaches of studying this issue. Confronting the observers of various epistemological and methodological backgrounds it brings to the fore a classical research dilemma of whether the relationships of solidarity, conflict or ambivalence among generations are a matter of individual experience or social structure, or else, how to ‘catch’ a social norm through the observation of individual agency. This monograph focuses on the understandings of such relationships in adult family members combining two approaches: life-course analyses are grounded in adult family members’ life career stories upgraded by the socio-psychological study on understanding their quality of life. The ethnographic research was designed on the general findings of a previous survey on gender and generations on farms in Slovenia (Chapter 3) to obtain new knowledge about the relationships among generations and gender in the context of farming development. The recently introduced measures of Early Retirement of Farmers (2004) and Setting Up of Young Farmers (2005) in Slovenia aimed precisely at assuring farming continuity and encouraging the due transfer of farms from the older to the younger generation. The survey’s general finding was that the most vital (as to the size of farms, education of its members and their fertility) were the farms which had received both forms of aid. Yet these households show some ‘rigid’ features, too. The young successors (the beneficiaries) did not participate in wider social networks. Their social network still consisted of their closer siblings only. Division of labour among the family members was less flexible in view of their particular interests, and the younger generation was still committed to providing care for the older generation either due to the ‘preservation of tradition’ or the lack of some services in their living environment. Whether these ‘rigid features’ are a potential source for development of supportive, conflicting or ambivalent relationships among the members of farm families, either the beneficiaries or the non-beneficiaries of both forms of aid, was the point of departure of ethnographic study on practices of support in multigenerational farm families. Intertwined spheres of ‘work’ (Chapter 5) and ‘home’ (Chapter 6) on the farm were observed through the life stories of all adult family members and not from the view of only one household interviewee as designed in the previous survey. Six multigenerational farm families (two beneficiaries of the aid of SYF and ER, and one candidate for the aid SYF, and three non-beneficiaries) were selected in Prekmurje (NE Slovenia, bordering Austria, Hungary and Croatia). This is a region with the most favourable conditions for agriculture, but only a small proportion of farms is occupied exclusively with farming. The specialty of the region is that more than half of the households are at least partially engaged in farming, indicating that the share of half-workers half-farmers prevails. In 2009, the largest Slovenian apparel producer and a meat processing company located in the main town of the region, declared bankruptcy and some thousands of employees lost their jobs. This economic crisis was expected to trigger full-time employment on farms of those workers who lost their jobs and who had previously combined their off-farm employment with work on the farm. The fieldwork material shows that both observed groups of family farms differ mostly by enlarged farm capacities (the size of farmland, the number of livestock and the building capacities) at the time the younger operator took over the farm, and the number of employed family members on the farms. The beneficiaries of both forms of aid have considerably increased their farm capacities, which was also proved by the previous survey. Characteristic for these farms are employed parents on the farm for most of their working career. Therefore, the higher number of employed family members on the beneficiary farms compared to the non-beneficiary farms is not a revelation. The latter have one member employed on the farm, usually the operator. Compared to the previous survey, this study shows that the highest completed education is not ‘typical’ for the beneficiary group only. The university educated spouses are found among the young transferees as well as among the adult children from the farms without a secured successor. And on the contrary, individuals with completed elementary education are met among the young farmers as well as their parents. This study has not proved a uniform pattern of ‘traditional commitment’ of the younger generation to take care of the older generation of family members. Domestic care ‘in old age’ as preferred option in comparison with the institutional care applies for both generations irrespective of the observed farm. Despite the expectation that young transferees and those who stay on the farm would take care of their old parents, this is a commitment of their spouses. Irrespective of the generation observed and the farm type, the care for the elderly and children remains the working domain of women who, irrespective of their age, take this task for granted. As with the survey, this study also shows that everyday activities of family members of the beneficiary farms encompass mutual regular or occasional assistance to farms or families of their relatives, usually to their siblings who have moved from their farms of origin. However, this practice is found among the non-beneficiary households as well, whose members are embedded in ‘outside’ family networks of giving and receiving assistance; frequently with other siblings and relatives and rarely with neighbours and friends. Considering daily tasks of each family member during their life careers, there are no pronounced differences between the two observed groups. The analysis of life stories points to common features of both groups of farm families on the one hand, and to potential sources for evolving of various ‘types’ of relationships among the generations, on the other hand. There found out to be three general ‘fields of disagreement’, a potential source for ambivalent or conflicting relationships among the members of multigenerational farm families. First, the entry to the new family environment as experienced and understood by a spouse or the family in which they have married. Second source of disagreement refers to decision-making about the way and timing of work on the farm; the younger as well as the older generation as a rule imagine the work on the farm ‘on their own’. Finally, the basis for disagreement pertains to a diverse imagining of caring for the elderly, children and family members who need the permanent assistance by those involved in these activities. That interpersonal relationship among the family members reflects feelings of ‘emotional closeness’, mutual expectations and commitments is proved by the socio-psychological study (Chapter 7), which sought to identify the simultaneous positive and negative feelings towards the same person. Comparisons of observed groups (by age, gender, and type of farm household) show that, in general, adult children experience a more ambivalent relationship towards their fathers than to their mothers, spouses are more ambivalent towards their fathers-in-law than fathers-in-law towards them, fathers-in-law are more ambivalent towards their sons-in-law than to daughters-in-law, and daughters-in-law are more ambivalent towards their fathers-in-law than to their mothers-in-law. These findings mirror the still patriarchal organisation of farm family communities in which the male members, irrespective of their age or kin relation, are recognised as the most accountable holders. The life stories of collocutors reveal that as a rule a son takes over the farm, men perform mechanised tasks on the farm, although women are capable of doing the same, and women perform caring work while men do not. Finally, such practices reflect the community’s expectations towards men and women and their adopted responsibilities. The embedded socio-psychological study in the anthropologically designed fieldwork has proved to be valuable only within the domain of interpretations extracted from the life stories of collocutors.
Article
This study looks at the way in which four members of a Midwestern American family co-construct the adult child identity of two graduate school students by using particular discursive practices while discussing topics related to parental expectations and decision-making. More specifically, it focuses on what constitutes “guilting” in the adult child-parent interactions. The data shows that guilting, both direct and indirect, is accomplished through making complaints and assessments. Participants orient to particular utterances as guilting and respond with justifications, explanations, or deflection. Guilting is shown to be used as a tool to control others’ future actions and/or to establish closer connection.
Article
This study explored the relationships between unmarried adult children and their coresident parents with a focus on the role of intergenerational exchanges and family values affecting parent-child relations. A total of 767 unmarried adult children who lived with their parents were selected from the data of the third National Korean Family Survey in 2015. The main findings were that coresident adult children exchange diverse resources with their parents and that exchange patterns whether receiving more or giving more differed depending on the helping dimensions. `Receiving` type was more prominent in the dimension of practical help, while, `receiving and giving` type was more noticeable in the dimension of emotional help. Findings also suggest that intergenerational exchange and family values contribute to parent-child relationship quality. While being an active provider of practical help is positively associated with relationship quality, being a recipient of emotional help is related to a higher level of relationship quality compared to being indifferent. In addition, a stronger value of family responsibility was associated with a higher level of relationship quality. These findings indicate that the importance of the practical and emotional component in the relationships between unmarried adult children and their co-resident parents and reciprocal intergenerational exchange and strong family values may be contributory factors to better parent-child relationships.
Article
Objective. : Not only is persistent pain a debilitating health problem for older adults, it also may have negative effects on family relationships. Studies have documented the effects of pain on spouses and on parents of young children. However, research has not extended this line of inquiry to later life, and specifically to the impact of older parents' pain symptoms on adult children. This study addresses the question: Does older mothers' pain affect the quality of relations with offspring? Subjects and design. : Using data from a survey of 678 adult children of older mothers, this article presents two analyses examining the impact of mothers' self-reported pain on emotional closeness and on tension in the adult child-parent relationship. Results. : Contrary to research conducted on younger families, multilevel models showed no effects on emotional closeness or tension in relationships with adult children when mothers experienced higher levels of persistent pain. This surprising finding suggests that mechanisms may exist that protect adult child caregivers from stressors that result from a relative's chronic pain. Conclusions. : Based on the findings of this article, further exploration of the impact of chronic pain on relations between adult children and their parents is justified. Of interest is exploration of factors that may insulate later-life intergenerational relationships from the effects of pain.
Article
The intergenerational ambivalence paradigm is a critical lens for understanding the complexities of aging families, and researchers have begun to explore the potential changes and implications of ambivalence over the life course. This study is one of few to examine trajectories of ambivalence over 13 years and is the first to include two birth cohorts of reciprocal parent–child dyads. This research uses five waves of the Longitudinal Study of Generations to assess changes in ambivalence and reciprocal influences among 903 parent–child dyads using latent growth models. Primary findings show an overall decline in ambivalence over time with different patterns by generation, cohort/life stage, and gender. Children experienced greater levels of ambivalence than parents. There is a reciprocal influence of ambivalence in parent–child dyads; parents and children have similar trajectories of ambivalence and the older generation of parents’ ambivalence exerted influence on the change in their children’s ambivalence over time. This study highlights the importance of using longitudinal data and reciprocal dyads in intergenerational research and adds to theory about the important influences of life stages, social contexts, and linked lives on intergenerational ambivalence.
Article
Purpose of the study: Sleep is a key factor in maintaining positive health and well-being throughout life. Although the negative outcomes of sleep problems are becoming better understood, less is known about how intergenerational relationships might affect sleep. Thus, this investigation examines the dyadic associations of support for, stress over, and worrying about adult children on sleep quality for husbands and wives. Design and Methods: The sample included 186 heterosexual married couples drawn from the Family Exchanges Study. To account for nonindependence in the dyadic data and explore questions of mutual influence, we used actor–partner interdependence models. Results: Husbands’ and wives’ reports of supporting their adult child and husbands’ worry were associated with husbands’ sleep quality. Conversely, wives’ stress about supporting their adult child was associated with wives’ sleep quality. Findings suggest that relationships with adult children have different associations for sleep quality among middle-aged husbands and wives. Implications: Our findings have implications for health-related research with couples and families and for providers who work with individuals struggling with sleep problems. Assisting aging parents to be aware of and manage ways that stress, support, and concern for adult children relate to their sleep may benefit them in multifaceted ways.
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Researchers have conceptualized ambivalence as resulting from the conflicting positive and negative thoughts and feelings that a person holds toward an attitude object (intrapersonal discrepancy). The authors investigated the hypothesis that perceived interpersonal attitudinal discrepancies can also contribute to feelings of subjective ambivalence beyond that determined by intrapersonal discrepancy. Study 1 revealed that the perception of attitudinal discrepancy with one's parents was associated with greater feelings of ambivalence. Studies 2 and 3 found increased ambivalence as a function of manipulated interpersonal discrepancies. Study 4 replicated and reversed the effect, revealing that interpersonal attitudinal discrepancy with a disliked other was associated with less ambivalence. Together, these studies provide support for the proposition that, because of balance processes, interpersonal relationships influence feelings of subjective ambivalence.
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Study 1 presents the development of a measure of adult attachment qualities (the Measure of Attachment Qualities [MAAQJ). Three further studies relate self-reports of adult attachment qualities to broader aspects of personality. Results indicate that avoidant attachment is inversely related to extraversion and agreeableness but relatively unrelated to manifest anxiety or neuroticism. Qualities of ambivalence (reflecting both worry and desire for merger) are related to both manifest anxiety and neuroticism but unrelated to extraversion. An affirmatively secure attachment quality that emerged in the MAQ (i.e., as a separate factor, rather than by default as low scores on avoidance or ambivalence factors) was related positively to extraversion and agreeableness but generally unrelated to anxiety or neuroticism. The final study also permitted comparison of the MAQ to a measure derived from a four-component model of attachment. Although there was considerable convergence, the data also provided challenges to both models.
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Many evaluations of social interventions are based on uncontrolled assignments of individuals to treatment groups. Statistical adjustments are often used to compensate for naturally occurring differences between groups. There is much confusion and controversy about the adequacy of these statistical methods. A variety of interrelated problems have been identified, including measurement error, unequal growth rates across groups, and regression artifacts. It is shown that these problems can all be subsumed under a general conceptual framework, as particular examples of model misspecification. This perspective is helpful in revealing clearly the nature of the problems posed by lack of experimental control. The important case of linear adjustment (analysis of covariance) is given special attention. An expression is derived for the proportion of bias remaining after adjustment, in terms of easily interpretable parameters. Implications of these results for research and evaluation design are considered. (41 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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reconceptualizes attitude structure as 2 dimensional in nature and details the challenges encountered in the course of developing a valid measure of ambivalence / 1st provide an historical background of the concept of ambivalence in attitude theory / present a critical analysis of 3 measures of ambivalence, 2 of which have been previously used in the literature to assess attitudes of this nature / propose a new method for calculating ambivalence scores that circumvents the problems associated with previous ambivalence measures / results of 2 studies are then presented which underscore the validity of the present approach to the measurement of ambivalence, and the particular formula that we suggest interested researchers employ / finally, the concept of ambivalence is integrated with other attitude strength variables Kaplan: overlap of weaker evaluation and stronger evaluation / Katz: positive x negative component / Jamieson: ratio of weaker component squared to stronger component / Griffin: similarity (in magnitude) and intensity of components / criterion validity: the relation of ambivalence measures to an external standard / construct validity: the antecedents of ambivalent attitudes / ambivalence calculated within and between attitude components / the relation of ambivalence to attitude strength concepts (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Adult children’s supportive behaviors were examined with respect to children’s autonomy and social motivation towards parents, and with respect to longitudinal changes of parents’ subjective well–being. In total, 115 adult children from 83 German families completed a questionnaire on supportive behaviors and social motivation. The children also reported what pleased or irritated their parents most. Findings suggest that filial autonomy was associated with resistance to strain. Older parents’ satisfaction improved when children expressed affection or gave emotional support. However, informational support from children was associated with decreased satisfaction among parents. Findings suggest that filial autonomy may facilitate supportive behaviors that correspond to older parents’ socioemotional needs.
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The authors investigate the structure of intergenerational cohesion by examining social-psychological, structural, and transactional as-pects of adult child–parent relations. The authors use latent class analysis to develop a typology based on three underlying dimensions of intergenerational solidarity: affinity, opportunity structure, and function. The same five types are found for relations with both mothers and fathers: tight-knit, sociable, intimate but distant, oblig-atory, and detached. Relationship types are also differentiated by sociodemographic characteristics; relations with fathers and di-vorced parents tended to have the weakest cohesion. The authors conclude that adult intergenerational relationships in American families are structurally diverse but generally possess the potential to serve their members' needs.
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Several demographic trends threaten supportive ties between adult children and elderly parents, including fertility reduction, rising divorce rates, and increasing geographical mobility among young adults. This article focuses on the extent to which proximity of adult children influences several types of social contact between elders and their offspring. Initial anlysis uncovered nonlinear patterns in the data. The results of the polynomial regression analyses indicate that physical distance is a potent determinant of several types of social contact. The importance of distance is not affected when statistically controlling for adult children's income, sex, and marital status and elderly respondents' age, sex, education, and ethnicity. The analysis also suggests that substitution occurs between contact types at certain points on the distance continuum.
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This research derives and tests hypotheses from two alternative conceptual models: the modified extended family model, and the changing family constraints model, which takes into account recent changes in work and family life. The hypotheses address social class differences in geographic distance and contact frequency between middle-aged children and their parents over time. Simultaneous probit models are used to analyze distance and contact as jointly determined outcomes with data from the USC Longitudinal Study of Generations and Mental Health. Results from these analyses indicate that children's 1971 educational aspirations and social class position predict 1991 distance and contact between generations. Parents who have lower 1991 incomes, however, live farther from children and talk with them on the telephone less frequently than higher-income parents. Thus, the effects of early social class position support the modified extended family model, whereas the effects of current social class position support the changing family constraints model.
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Socioemotional selectivity theory claims that the perception of time plays a fundamental role in the selection and pursuit of social goals. According to the theory, social motives fall into 1 of 2 general categories--those related to the acquisition of knowledge and those related to the regulation of emotion. When time is perceived as open-ended, knowledge-related goals are prioritized. In contrast, when time is perceived as limited, emotional goals assume primacy. The inextricable association between time left in life and chronological age ensures age-related differences in social goals. Nonetheless, the authors show that the perception of time is malleable, and social goals change in both younger and older people when time constraints are imposed. The authors argue that time perception is integral to human motivation and suggest potential implications for multiple subdisciplines and research interests in social, developmental, cultural, cognitive, and clinical psychology.
Article
In 2 person perception experiments, young and older perceivers read a scenario-about a young or old female target who leaves a store without paying for a hat, In Experiment 1, the target claims she forgot she was wearing the hat when questioned by the manager. Perceivers thought the manager would have greater sympathy, less anger, and would recommend less punishment when the target was old. In Experiment 2, the target clearly forgot to pay for the hat, clearly stole it, or had ambiguous intentions. In the ambiguous condition, perceivers attributed the young target's behavior more to stealing and the old target's behavior more to forgetting. In the forget condition, young perceivers had equal sympathy for the young and old targets and held them similarly responsible, but older perceivers had greater sympathy for the forgetful old target and held her less responsible than they did the forgetful young target.
Thesis
This study examined interpersonal tension in normative aging mother/adult daughter dyads. Forty-eight dyads of healthy older mothers (mean age = 76) and their adult daughters (mean age = 44) participated. These were mothers and daughters who reported having frequent contact with one another. This dissertation examined several aspects of interpersonal tension, including: (1) sources of tension, (2) frequency of tension, (3) patterns of communication or conflict styles, (4) affect experienced with tense situations. Furthermore, it examined the associations between that tension and the well-being of the individuals involved. Multiple methods were used to gain an understanding of the components of interpersonal tension, and mothers' and daughters' experiences of that tension. Subjects were interviewed alone, together, and completed individual questionnaires. Assessments of tension included: (1) open-ended questions, (2) forced-choice indices, (3) observed behaviors, and (4) story completion tasks. There were generational differences in perceptions of the source of tension. Daughters were more critical of their mothers and tended to view interpersonal tension as more embedded in the relationship. In general, mothers had more diffuse complaints while daughters tended to complain about their mothers' intrusiveness or her habits. Daughters tended to speak up more directly with their complaints than did their mothers. Daughters generally spoke more positively about the relationship during the joint interview than they had been in the individual interview. However, even in the joint interview, daughters were less positive about the relationship than were their mothers. In general, mothers tended to express more positive feelings about the relationship than did daughters. Mothers also tended to rate their daughters' feelings for the relationship more positively than daughters rated their own feelings. Mothers' failure to perceive tension in the relationship may reflect daughters' failure to communicate negative feelings. While direct communication of tension has been associated with positive outcomes elsewhere, in this study, hesitating to speak about problems with the other was associated with well-being for mothers and daughters. The mother's role as kinkeeper in the family and generational differences in conceptions of their relationship are discussed, as are unique aspects of the aging mother/daughter relationship.
Article
SAS PROC MIXED is a flexible program suitable for fitting multilevel models, hierarchical linear models, and individual growth models. Its position as an integrated program within the SAS statistical package makes it an ideal choice for empirical researchers and applied statisticians seeking to do data reduction, management, and analysis within a single statistical package. Because the program was developed from the perspective of a "mixed" statistical model with both random and fixed effects, its syntax and programming logic may appear unfamiliar to users in education and the social and behavioral sciences who tend to express these models as multilevel or hierarchical models. The purpose of this paper is to help users familiar with fitting multilevel models using other statistical packages (e.g., HLM, MLwiN, MIXREG) add SAS PROC MIXED to their array of analytic options. The paper is written as a step-by-step tutorial that shows how to fit the two most common multilevel models: (a) school effects models, designed for data on individuals nested within naturally occurring hierarchies (e.g., students within classes); and (b) individual growth models, designed for exploring longitudinal data (on individuals) over time. The conclusion discusses how these ideas can be extended straighforwardly to the case of three level models. An appendix presents general strategies for working with multilevel data in SAS and for creating data sets at several levels.
Article
A theoretical framework is developed to explain how parent/adult child relationships affect adult children's and parents' psychological distress levels. Data from a 1986 national survey (n = 3,618) are analyzed to test hypotheses derived from this framework. Results show that (a) the quality of intergenerational relationships appears to be influenced by the structural circumstances of parents and adult children—especially as defined by divorced status, gender, and age; (b) the negative aspects of intergenerational relationships are more strongly associated with psychological distress of parents and adult children than are the positive aspects; and (c) the estimated effects of intergenerational relationships on distress levels sometimes depend on the structural circumstances of parents and children.
Article
This research examines the impact of a daughter's transitions to marriage and motherhood on the mother-daughter relationship. Forty-three daughters (married with and without children, and single) and 39 of their mothers were interviewed and questionnaires were administered to the daughters, mothers, and other family members. Two dimensions of the mother-daughter bond are examined: symbolic and interactional. The findings indicate that when daughters become mothers, mothers and daughters tend to reevaluate each other and become more involved in each others' lives. This paper suggests that change in the mother-daughter bond entails a process of redefinition and renegotiation in terms of their relative statuses, their role perspectives, and their family structure.
Article
This study indicates how a shift in the structure of kinship networks can create changes in both the content and valence of kinship relationships. The study compares the mother-daughter and the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships, and the shift in their kin network consists of the birth of the daughter(-in-law)'s child. Findings from an exploratory research project, based on family case studies, suggest that orientation toward the child changes these relationships in different ways along three dimensions: interactive involvement, interpersonal boundaries, and relational strain. The orientation around the child appears to clarify the interpersonal boundaries between daughter and mother by shifting the mother's maternal role onto the daughter's child. But the birth of the child creates greater ambiguity in the quasi-kin, quasi-maternal relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Thus, the child seems to bring more relational strain to the in-law relationship and less strain to the mother-daughter bond.
Article
This study examines differences between rural farm and nonfarm families on the extent and quality of relations between adolescents and their grandparents, with emphasis on the mediational role of two linking relationships child-parent and parent-grandparent, In a longitudinal study of rural generations in Iowa, data concerning relations with grandparents (n = 1,181) were collected from grandchildren and their parents in 398 families. Grandchildren in farm families live closer to their grandparents and have more contact with them when compared with nonfarm rural adolescents, and this is particularly the case for paternal grandparents. Grandchildren in farm families also rate the quality of their relationship with paternal grandparents higher than those in nonfarm families. Relations between grandchildren and grandparents are contingent upon the quality of intergenerational relationships generally, but especially between parents and grandparents, among both farm and nonfarm families.
Article
This life-course analysis of family development focuses on the social dynamics among family members. It features parent-child relationships in a larger context, by examining the help exchange between kin and nonkin and the intergenerational transmission of family characteristics.
Article
Bases for a developmental approach to the nature and functions of mother-child and father-child relationships are considered in connection with research findings from studies of middle-childhood and adolescent subjects and their parents. The framework for the review was derived from two sources: (1) recent conceptualizations of close relationships and (2) implications in general theories of socialization regarding different contributions of mothers and fathers to development during middle childhood and adolescence. Relationships between offspring and their mothers were found to contrast with father-offspring relationships in both middle childhood and adolescence, and differences appear to become more pronounced in some areas as a function of maturational changes associated with the transition to adolescence. The analysis points to the inadvisability of considering relationships with parents to be monolithic and a-developmental. In addition, it makes clear the need for a developmental theory of relationships to serve as a guide to further research on the linkages between ontogenetic change in individuals and the relationships of which they are a part.
Article
SAS PROC MIXED is a flexible program suitable for fitting multilevel models, hierarchical linear models, and individual growth models. Its position as an integrated program within the SAS statistical package makes it an ideal choice for empirical researchers and applied statisticians seeking to do data reduction, management, and analysis within a single statistical package. Because the program was developed from the perspective of a "mixed" statistical model with both random and fixed effects, its syntax and programming logic may appear unfamiliar to users in education and the social and behavioral sciences who tend to express these models as multilevel or hierarchical models. The purpose of this paper is to help users familiar with fitting multilevel models using other statistical packages (e.g., HLM, MLwiN, MIXREG) add SAS PROC MIXED to their array of analytic options. The paper is written as a step-by-step tutorial that shows how to fit the two most common multilevel models: (a) school effects models, designed for data on individuals nested within naturally occurring hierarchies (e.g., students within classes); and (b) individual growth models, designed for exploring longitudinal data (on individuals) over time. The conclusion discusses how these ideas can be extended straighforwardly to the case of three level models. An appendix presents general strategies for working with multilevel data in SAS and for creating data sets at several levels.
Article
This research adds to recent discussions of intergenerational ambivalence by analyzing accounts of relations with adult children from focus group interviews with older parents. When discussing their adult children, participants reveal strong desires for both autonomy and connection, leading to ambivalence about receiving assistance from them. They define themselves as independent but hope that children's help will be available if needed. They are annoyed by children's overprotectiveness but appreciate the concern it expresses. They use a variety of strategies to deal with their ambivalent feelings, such as minimizing the help they receive, ignoring or resisting children's attempts to control, withholding information from children to maintain clear boundaries, seeking others as confidants, and rationalizing children's unavailability. They actively strive for a balance in their relationships with children. The authors interpret their findings in relation to their children's styles of offering help and discuss implications for practitioners.
Article
Prior research has considered the influence of the middle generation on ties between grandparents and grandchildren but has not differentiated between gender of parent and kinship to grandparent (e.g., daughter vs. daughter-in-law and son vs. son-in-law). Eighty-six grandparents provided information about the qualities of their relationships with their grandchildren (n = 239) and their grandchildren's parents (n = 141 mothers and 141 fathers). Two characteristics of the middle generation were considered: (a) gender of the parent (mother vs. father) and (b) kinship to grandparent - son or daughter (consanguine parent) or daughter-in-law or son-in-law (affinal parent). Relationships with children-in-law were more strongly associated with qualities of ties to grandchildren than relationships with grandparents' own children. Implications for future research addressing in-law relationships are discussed.
Article
I have written this book for sociologists and for other people who have a personal or professional interest in the topic of mothers and daughters. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Explores alternate meanings of attitudinal neutrality in the context of the bipolarity-reciprocal antagonism issue, and proposes a modification of the semantic differential technique wherein the liking and disliking components of attitude can be separately measured. A geometrical model is developed in which 3 nondirectional attitude variables (total affect, ambivalence, and polarization) are distinguished from the usual attitude variable. Reliability and validity data are presented, and an application of the model is discussed. (31 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
As Monograph No. 4 in the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health series, this University of Michigan Survey Research Center report deals with the findings obtained from extensive interviews with a representative sample of 2460 Americans over 21 and living at home. Questions focused on how people indicate their life adjustment, their perceived problems, and how they have coped with their expressed needs. Following an introductory overview, individual chapters deal with varied aspects, including marriage, parenthood, job, symptom patterns, referrals and resources, and demographic characteristics. Questionnaire and technical data are appended. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Meta-attitudes are impressions of properties of one's attitudes. This article distinguishes between meta-attitudinal indexes of attitude strength and operative indexes that are derived from the judgment process or its outcomes. Measures of both types were tested against criteria of attitude pliability and stability. The results revealed that the meta-attitudinal and operative measures formed distinct clusters and that the operative index accounted for unique variance in the criteria, whereas the meta-attitudinal one did not. The author argues that operative measures of strength provide a relatively nonreactive means of assessing properties of strength that can be unconscious, whereas meta-attitudinal measures are particularly susceptible to extraneous influences that can undermine their validity. The one advantage of meta-attitudinal measures is their semantic specificity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study builds on research addressing intergenerational ambivalence by considering emotional ambivalence toward the wider social network. Men and women ages 13 to 99 (N = 187) completed diagrams of their close and problematic social relationships. Social ties were classified as solely close, solely problematic, or ambivalent, based on network placement (n = 3,392 social contacts). Multilevel models revealed that individuals viewed certain close familial ties (e.g., spouse, son or daughter, parent, sibling) with greater ambivalence than they viewed more distal family ties, friendships, or acquaintances. Participants classified more acquaintances than other relationships as solely problematic. Feeling closer to a social partner was associated with increased ambivalence. Older adults were more likely to classify their relationships as solely close than as ambivalent, in comparison with younger adults. Discussion focuses on tension and closeness in familial and nonfamilial relationships.
Article
This longitudinal study examined the role of Extraversion and Neuroticism as antecedents of emotion regulation and dysregulation among 89 women and 81 men. When participants were 27 years old, their Extraversion and Neuroticism were assessed with the standardized version of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. At age 33, they completed the Big-Five Personality Inventory, an authorized adaptation of the NEO Personality Inventory. Emotion regulation, operationalized as an active attempt to turn a negative emotion toward a more positive direction, and measured by the Repair subscale of the Meta-Regulation Scale, and emotional social support, as measured by the Life Situation Questionnaire, were assessed when participants reached 36 years of age. Emotional ambivalence, a type of emotion dysregulation, was also assessed in this wave. Structural equation modelling demonstrated that prior Neuroticism led to higher emotional ambivalence and lowered use of Repair at age 36. Prior Extraversion, on the other hand, was linked to lower emotional ambivalence at age 36. Extraversion also led to higher attempts to rely on emotional social support to regulate emotions, but less interest in using Repair. Correlational findings revealed that Extraversion and Neuroticism showed differential continuity between ages 27 and 33. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
The concept of ambivalence emphasizes the complexity of family relations and the potential for individuals to evaluate relationships as both positive and negative. Using multilevel models, we investigate ambivalence in adult children's relationships with their aging parents and in-laws (N= 1,599). We focus on factors predicting adult children's ambivalence toward parents and in-laws within a gendered kinship structure that shapes these relations. We conclude that ambivalence is a useful concept for representing the complexity of parent-child relationships and is produced within the context of social relations structured by gender and kinship. Results show greater ambivalence among dyads of women, toward in-laws, among those in poor health, for daughters providing assistance, and for adult children with poor parental relations in early life.
Article
Family relationships across several generations are becoming increasingly important in American society. They are also increasingly diverse in structure and in functions. In reply to the widely debated “family decline” hypothesis, which assumes a nuclear family model of 2 biological parents and children, I suggest that family multigenerational relations will be more important in the 21st century for 3 reasons: (a) the demographic changes of population aging, resulting in “longer years of shared lives” between generations; (b) the increasing importance of grandparents and other kin in fulfilling family functions; (c) the strength and resilience of intergenerational solidarity over time. I also indicate that family multigenerational relations are increasingly diverse because of (a) changes in family structure, involving divorce and stepfamily relationships; (b) the increased longevity of kin; (c) the diversity of intergenerational relationship “types.” Drawing on the family research legacy of Ernest W. Burgess, I frame my arguments in terms of historical family transitions and hypotheses. Research from the Longitudinal Study of Generations is presented to demonstrate the strengths of multigenerational ties over time and why it is necessary to look beyond the nuclear family when asking whether families are still functional.
Article
Interest in applying the concept of ambivalence to the study of intergenerational relations has increased in recent years. However, few empirical studies of this issue have been conducted. Using data from a study of 189 mothers aged 60 and over, the authors examine sources of ambivalence regarding the quality of their relationships with adult children. They hypothesized that adult children's failure to achieve and maintain normative adult statuses and financial independence and mother's developmental stage will predict ambivalent assessments of the relationship. Regression analyses supported these hypotheses and also revealed that the variables predicting ambivalence differed from those that predicted closeness and interpersonal stress.
Article
In a longitudinal study, the links between family relations and marital relations were examined in families with early adolescent children. Over the course of 4 years, 128 mother–father–adolescent triads were investigated annually. They completed questionnaires assessing family climate and marital relationships. Longitudinal analyses revealed that the initially large discrepancies between adolescents' and their parents' perceptions of family cohesion, support, and expressiveness decreased significantly over time. As adolescents approached late adolescence, however, the family members' perceptions of a lowered family closeness increasingly converged. Families with sons experienced stronger emotional distancing than families with daughters. However, the emphasis on adolescent independence was highly similar in families with daughters and sons, as was the extent to which rules and organization determined family life. Mothers and fathers did not depict their marital relationships as particularly critical during their children's early adolescent years. Moreover, in families with daughters, husbands and wives did not experience more marital conflict than in families with sons. The consistent associations revealed between marital communication, family closeness, and the opportunity for personal growth within the family suggest a bilateral focus for the study of parent–adolescent relationships.
Article
Recent research has demonstrated that depressed individuals induce negative mood and elicit rejection in those with whom they interact. The present study was designed to examine the role of a depressive attributional style in this mood induction/rejection phenomenon. A group of 120 male and 120 female undergraduates read transcripts describing either a male or a female depressed, physically ill, or normal target individual who exhibited either behavioral or characterological self-blame for the cause of a negative event in his or her life. Subjects imagined interacting with the target and then responded to measures of mood and rejection. Both the depressed and the physically ill target individuals were found to elicit more negative mood and rejection than did the normal targets. In addition, subjects responded more negatively to the characterological than to the behavioral attributional style only when the target was described as normal; these two attributional styles did not elicit differential responses from subjects when the targets were already symptomatic. Finally, no differences in mood or rejection were obtained as a function of the sex of either the targets or the subjects. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for interactional models of depression. The consideration of attributional style as a vulnerability factor to depression is proposed, and a number of directions for future research are offered.
Article
In this paper, we draw upon insights from the developmental psychological literature on younger families to investigate within-family differences in parent–adult child relations in later life families. Using data from 30 families, we examine whether mothers aged 65–75 report greater closeness to particular adult children, and the extent to which patterns of closeness can be explained by within-family differences in the children's status transitions and developmental histories. Eighty percent of the mothers reported being closer to at least one of their adult children. Further, mothers were more likely to report that the children to whom they were closest had experienced nonnormative status transitions or other problematic events that had been involuntary and had made the children more dependent on their mothers. In contrast, mothers were least likely to name children who experienced voluntary problematic events. Comparison of the data from mothers with that from adult children revealed substantial discrepancies in reporting developmental histories, thus demonstrating the limitations imposed by collecting data from only one generation. Taken together, these findings suggest that examining within-family variations in social structural transitions and developmental histories, in combination with collecting data from multiple generations, may shed light on the quality of intergenerational relations.
Article
The present study examined the association between neuroticism and individuals' coping responses within and across irritating life events. Data on the magnitude and consistency of coping responses were collected using an experience sampling methodology (ESM). Over the course of 10 weeks, 149 undergraduate students provided information on their coping responses and thoughts in response to five naturally occurring anger situations (nobs = 745). Neuroticism scores were positively associated with higher ratings of the intensity, duration and situational importance of experiences. Furthermore, ANCOVA analyses revealed significant increases across Low, Moderate and High neuroticism groups on Avoiding and Self-Blaming coping styles. Trans-situational stability estimates were calculated using Generalizability Coefficients. These analyses revealed that subjects within the high neuroticism group were significantly less consistent across situations on four coping styles than the rest of the sample. The situational contexts and thought processes associated with fluctuations in coping style scores were examined.
Article
In view of certain psychometric deficiencies of the original Psychoticism scale, an attempt was made to improve the scale by adding new items. It was attempted to increase the internal reliability of the scale, improve the shape of the distribution and increase the mean and variance score. Two different studies are discussed. Reliabilities are now somewhat improved, distributions are closer to normal and mean scores are higher than on the old scale. Four new short 12-item scales for the measurement of P, E, N and L are also given.
Article
In den letzten Jahren ist ein wachsendes Interesse an den familiären Generationenbeziehungen festzustellen. Dabei zeigt sich, daß diese Beziehungen entweder unter dem Gesichtspunkt von Solidarität oder demjenigen von Konflikt analysiert werden. Demgegenüber schlagen wir vor, dies unter der allgemeinen Hypothese von "Ambivalenz" zu tun, und wir erläutern dies anhand einer Diskussion exemplarischer Studien. (Das Papier ist eine Überarbeitung und Weiterführung der im Arbeitspapier Nr. 22 dargestellten Überlegungen.) Social scientific interest in intergenerational relationships between adults has increased in recent years. However, there is a lack of theoretical work that allows for the integration of research findings. Further, there has been a tendency to interpret intergenerational relationships within limited frameworks that emphasize either intergenerational solidarity or conflict. In contrast, we propose that ambivalence is a more useful organizing concept for understanding intergenerational relations. In this article, we argue that relationships between the generations in families are structured such that they generate various types of ambivalence. We then present three propositions regarding ambivalence in intergenerational relations, with illustrations from several exemplary studies. Implications of this conceptualization of intergenerational relations are discussed.
Article
Self-evaluations of health status have been shown to predict mortality, above and beyond the contribution to prediction made by indices based on the presence of health problems, physical disability, and biological or life-style risk factors. Several possible reasons for this association are discussed: (a) methodological shortcomings of previous studies render the association spurious; (b) other psychosocial influences on mortality are involved and explain the association; and (c) self-evaluations of health status have a direct and independent effect of their own. Four-year follow-up mortality data from the Yale Health and Aging Project (N = 2812) are used to explore these possibilities. The analysis controls for the contribution of numerous indicators of health problems, disability and risk factors, and also makes adjustments of standard errors for the complex sample design. The findings favor the third possibility, an independent effect, to the extent that the particular set of psychosocial factors examined did not explain the basic association, and to the extent that the control variables were an adequately comprehensive set.
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The link between emotional conflict and the perceived availability and use of social support was examined. One hundred and five undergraduate students completed measures of ambivalence over expressing emotion, repressive defensiveness, fear of intimacy, social support, and well-being. Self-reports, observer reports, and daily reports of social support during the previous month were collected. Both ambivalence and fear of intimacy were negatively related to self-report and daily measures of social support and to well-being. Repressive defensiveness was unrelated to the social support measures. Perceived social support mediated the relation between emotional conflict and well-being. Results suggest the presence of a negative bias toward the use of social resources by conflicted individuals.
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This study explored sources of tension in the aging mother-adult daughter relationship. Forty-eight dyads of healthy mothers over the age of 70 years (mean age = 76 years) and their adult daughters (mean age = 44 years) were interviewed individually and then together about their relationship. Responses to questions about tension were coded as referring to intrusiveness, exclusion, inappropriate care of self or other, or as referring to general habits or traits. The term developmental schism is introduced to explain possible sources of tension in this relationship. Aging mothers and middle-aged daughters are at different points in their adult development; developmental discrepancies may foster interpersonal tension in their relationship. Mothers and daughters who described sources of difficulty that were not related to developmental differences had more positive regard for the relationship.
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The authors examined the influence of neuroticism (N) on the occurrence of different types of daily events, primary and secondary appraisals of those events, use of specific coping strategies, and end-of-day negative mood. College students completed questionnaires at the end of every day for 14 consecutive days. When reporting their most stressful event of each day, high-N individuals, compared with low-N individuals, reported more interpersonal stressors and had more negative primary and secondary appraisals and reacted with more distress in response to increasingly negative primary and secondary appraisals. Compared with low-N individuals, high-N individuals used less-adaptive coping strategies (e.g., hostile reaction) and reacted with more distress in response to some types of coping strategies. The appraisal findings, in particular, help to explain the chronic negative affectivity associated with neuroticism.
Article
Theorists have proposed that greater centrality (personal importance) of a social role is associated with better psychological well-being but that role centrality exacerbates the negative effects of stress in that same social role on well-being. The present study found evidence to support both hypotheses in a sample of 296 women who simultaneously occupied the roles of parent care provider, mother, wife, and employee. Greater centrality of all four roles was related to better psychological well-being. As predicted, wife centrality exacerbated the effects of wife stress on life satisfaction, and employee centrality exacerbated the effects of employee stress on depressive symptoms. Contrary to prediction, centrality of the mother role buffered women from the negative effects of mother stress on depressive symptoms. These findings point to an aspect of role identity that can benefit well-being but that has complex effects in the context of role stress.