ERIC Number: ED240443
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Understanding Parent-Child Relations in Later Life: An Application of Kelley's Personal Relationship Framework.
Shuman, Susan; Johnson, Michael
Parents and children are faced with a variety of challenges over the course of their lives together, yet most research centers only on the early stages of the family life cycle. One major change occurs as parents grow older and need increasing amounts of help from their children. Kelley has developed a general theory of personal relationships which may increase understanding of parent-child interactions when children provide care for parents in later life. Kelley's model centers around three basic ideas: (1) the essence of any relationship is interdependence; (2) in personal relationships people take into account the effects of their behavior on their partner and sometimes behave in ways not in their own best interest; and (3) these transformations of behavior provide information which the participants use to form impressions of each other and to make judgements about their partner's attitudes toward them as individuals. When one member of a relationship begins to care for the other, changes or transformations occur. Possible reasons why children help their parents fall into two categories: responsibility (especially when no alternative sources of help are available); or affection. Kelley's model is based on the assumption that the way a partner responds to the control he/she has over the other's outcomes provides evidence about interpersonal attitudes. In the case of the child who cares for a parent, a transformation is clearly involved, with rewards and costs different from those available previously. Although recent studies have emphasized the negative consequences of caregiving, both parent and caregiver can be better understood through application of Kelley's model. (JAC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Aging (DHHS/NIH), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park.
Identifiers: Adult Children; Caregivers
Note: Paper presented at the National Council on Family Relations Pre-Conference Workshop on Theory and Methods (St. Paul, Minnesota, October 1983).