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ERIC Number: EJ889504
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2725
How Adult Children Influence Older Parents' Mental Health: Integrating Stress-Process and Life-Course Perspectives
Milkie, Melissa A.; Bierman, Alex; Schieman, Scott
Social Psychology Quarterly, v71 n1 p86-105 Mar 2008
In this study, we integrate insights from the life-course and stress-process perspectives to argue that adult children's negative treatment of parents, as well as negative events that children experience, detrimentally affect elderly parents' mental health over time. We argue that these strains may affect mothers more than fathers, and blacks more than whites, because of the greater importance of the parental role to these groups in late life. Using data from more than 600 older African American and white parents over a four-year period, we show that negative treatment by adult children is positively related to changes in depression and anger, but effects on depression are limited to black parents and effects on anger are limited to mothers. Adult children becoming ill or unemployed positively relates to changes in distress over time, but only for black parents. Surprisingly, marital dissolution by adult children is related to decreases in anger for black parents. This research indicates that the social-psychological implications of the parental role do not end when children are adults; however, the influence on mental health in old age may vary by social status. (Contains 2 figures, 3 tables and 5 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A