ERIC Number: ED265446
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Relationships with Adult Children: Support Functions and Vulnerabilities.
Thomas, Jeanne L.; And Others
The family is the primary source of supportive services to the aged in this country. A study was undertaken to examine two issues related to developmental functions of relationships with adult children: the parent's view of assistance received from adult children, and age differences in those views; and, secondly, the functions of assistance received from adult children. In semi-structured interviews, 17 parents in two age groups (65-74, 75-85) described family structure and helping patterns, and evaluated children's help. Content analysis of interview transcripts was performed. The interview data revealed that parents rarely received help with everyday tasks, but children more often helped during crisis periods. For the most part, parents were satisfied with children's help; a significant number of parents, however, were dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction usually stemmed from concern about burdening children, and sometimes also reflected long-term distance in the relationships. The oldest parents, although receiving similar types of help as the younger parents, were more often concerned about burdening their children. These oldest parents also described their experiences during the Great Depression, which they remembered as lessons in self-reliance. For these parents, the self-reliance acquired during young adulthood may be a self-imposed barrier precluding adaptive interdependence in old age. It can be concluded that optimal developmental functions of elderly parent-adult child relationships are at least partially determined by the historical context of the life cycle. (References and data tables are provided.) (Author/ABB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Aging (DHHS/NIH), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A