ERIC Number: ED262361
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Childlessness, Family Composition and Well-Being of Older Men.
Beckman, Linda J.
Although it has been suggested that contact with children is important for the satisfaction of the economic, emotional, and service needs of older parents, social gerontology research provides little direct evidence that childless elders or elders with few living children are less satisfied than others. To examine the effects of family size, family composition, and childlessness on elderly men, personal interviews were conducted with 252 married men aged 60 and older; 159 were fathers and 93 were childless. The interview schedule and self-administered questionnaires assessed five dimensions of well-being, demographic characteristics, social interaction, health, and religiosity. The results indicated that the childless men did not differ significantly in demographics from men with living children. Older childless married men did not differ on well-being from older married fathers, although fathers reported being more satisfied with their current fertility status than were childless men. Moreover, the number of children was not related to well-being for fathers. Men with all sons reported significantly lower well-being than did men with children of both sexes and somewhat lower well-being than did men with all daughters. Although these findings support the contention that childlessness has no effect on the well-being of elderly husbands, they may not apply to more socially isolated groups of older men or to the frail elderly. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), Bethesda, MD. Center for Population Research.
Authoring Institution: N/A