Adult Parent – Child Relationship...
APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY: AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW, 2005, 54 (3), 396���417 �� International Association for Applied Psychology, 2005. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Blackwell Ltd.
Adult Oxford, UKPublishing,an APPS Applied Psychology: International Review 0269-994X �� International Association for Applied Psychology, 2005 J uly 2005 54 3 Original Article ADULT PARENT���CHILD RELATIONSHIPS SCHWARZ ET AL. Parent���Child Relationships: Relationship Quality, Support, and Reciprocity Beate Schwarz,* Gisela Trommsdorff, Isabelle Albert and Boris Mayer University of Konstanz, Germany A partir du mod��le de la solidarit�� interg��n��rationnelle de Bengston (Bengston & Roberts, 1991), on a ��tudi��, chez 265 femmes entre deux ��ges vivant en Allemagne, les interrelations entre leurs valeurs familiales, leur perception de qualit�� de la relation avec leurs parents, le soutien qu���elles disent leur apporter et recevoir de leur part, ainsi que leur appr��hension de l���entraide entre les g��n��rations. On s���est aussi demand�� si l���aide apport�� aux parents et la r��ciprocit�� per��u ��taient en rapport avec la charge que les filles ressentaient suite au soutien accord��. Les donn��es des diverses rubriques, fournies par les sujets, ont ��t�� trait��es avec des analyses de r��gression logistiques multiple et multi- nomiale. Les analyses ont d��bouch�� sur des liaisons positives entre les valeurs familiales, la qualit�� des relations et le soutien aux parents. La r��ciprocit�� per��ue ��tait reli��e aux aides mutuelles entre les g��n��rations et un soutien d��s��quilibr�� avait des effets n��gatifs sur la qualit�� de la relation. La charge ressentie pouvait ��tre pr��dite �� partir de la r��ciprocit�� per��ue et de l���importance de l���aide. Cependant, sont apparus des mod��les corr��lationnels sp��cifiques d��pendant �� la fois du type d���aide et du niveau d���importance relatif du p��re et de la m��re. Les r��sultats sont discut��s dans le contexte du sens de la r��ciprocit�� et des obligations familiales dans une culture occidentale. In accordance with Bengtson���s model of intergenerational solidarity (e.g. Bengtson & Roberts, 1991), the interrelations between adult daughters��� family values, their perception of the relationship quality with their parents, the sup- port they reported to give to and to receive from their parents, and their perception of reciprocity in intergenerational support exchange were invest- igated for N = 265 middle-aged women in Germany. It was also asked whether the support given to parents and perceived reciprocity are related to daughters��� felt burden as a result of their support. Cross-sectional, self-report data were examined with multiple and multinomial logistic regression analyses. * Address for correspondence: Beate Schwarz, University of Konstanz, Department of Psychology, Box D 14, 78457 Konstanz, Germany. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org This research was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to the sec- ond author for the study ���Value of Children and Intergenerational Relations��� (TR 169/9-1/2 principal investigators: Gisela Trommsdorff, University of Konstanz and Bernhard Nauck, Technical University of Chemnitz, Germany).
ADULT PARENT���CHILD RELATIONSHIPS 397 �� International Association for Applied Psychology, 2005. The analyses revealed positive relations between family values, relationship quality, and support to parents. Perceived reciprocity was associated with the exchange of intergenerational support, and imbalance in support had negative effects on the relationship quality. Felt burden was predicted by the extent of support and the perceived reciprocity. However, specific correlational patterns depending on the kind of support as well as differences in the importance of mother and father occurred. The findings are discussed against the background of the meaning of family obligations and reciprocity in a Western culture. INTRODUCTION In all industrialised nations, the average life expectancy has increased. In Germany, a woman born today has an average life expectancy of 81 years and a man one of 75 years (United Nations Population Division, 2002). This demographic change affects families because the amount of lifetime parents and their children share has never been so great (Lauterbach, 1995). This has brought the adult parent���child relationship into the focus of recent research. Despite existing social insurance systems, the exchange of support remains important in the parent���child relationship throughout the whole life (Arber & Attias-Donfut, 2000). Representative studies from several Western countries underline the large amount of financial, instrumental, and emotional support that is given by parents to their adult children (e.g. Austria: Scholta, 1997 France: Attias-Donfut & Wolff, 2000 Germany: Kohli & K��nemund, 2001 USA: Eggebeen & Wilhelm, 1995). For the greater part of life, more support flows from parents to their children than vice versa, even in adulthood this is especially true for fin- ancial support (Cooney & Uhlenberg, 1992 Rossi & Rossi, 1990). In Germany, 30 per cent of 55- to 69-year-old parents and 24 per cent of 70- to 85-year-old parents provided financial support to their adult children, but only 2���3 per cent of them received financial help from their children (Kohli & K��nemund, 2001). With regard to other kinds of support, such as house- hold tasks or emotional support, help from adult children more often equals or surpasses that of parents (Kohli & K��nemund, 2001 Rossi & Rossi, 1990). The adult parent���child relationship is usually characterised by fre- quent contact and emotional closeness (e.g. Lye, 1996). Overt conflicts are rare (Fingerman, 2003). Against the background of these characterisations, the interrelations between family exchange and family relationships will be investigated more closely. Following Bengtson���s model of intergenerational solidarity (e.g. Bengtson & Roberts, 1991), the present study explores the question of how support given to parents is connected to norms and values of adult daughters and to the quality of the relationships between daughters and their parents. Another question is how reciprocity, the balance between give and take, is related to support and relationship quality. Although reciprocity is part of
398 SCHWARZ ET AL. �� International Association for Applied Psychology, 2005. the model and seems to be important for a deeper understanding of the support exchange in adult parent���child relationships, little research has been done on the relation between reciprocity in support exchange and other characteristics of adult parent���child relationships. Furthermore, in extension of the model of intergenerational solidarity, the felt burden of adult daughters resulting from the support given to parents is investigated. In particular, the questions studied concern the relations between burdens felt due to the support given to one���s parents and the support given as well as the perceived reciprocity in the exchange of support. Intergenerational support is a central aspect of the model of intergenera- tional solidarity put forth by Bengtson and colleagues (e.g. Bengtson & Roberts, 1991). The dimension of functional solidarity in the model includes exchange of support between parents and adult children and the reciprocity of this exchange. The exchange of support is assumed to be influenced by norms of familism (strength of commitment to familial roles and obligations) and affectual solidarity (the emotional quality of the relationship). According to the model, strong commitment to norms of familism and a close and posit- ive relationship increases exchange of support. Several studies support this assumption: the adult child���s norms of family obligations were positively associated with affective closeness, a positive relationship quality (Bengtson & Roberts, 1991 Silverstein, Parrott, & Bengtson, 1995), and with more support given to the parents (Ikking, van Tilburg, & Knipscheer, 1999). Affective closeness was related to more help provided by the child and to more help received from parents (Rossi & Rossi, 1990 Silverstein et al., 1995). Following the assumptions of the model, the quality of the parent���child relationship is related to the exchange of support and the reciprocity of this exchange (or the lack of it) affects the quality of the relationship. A balance between help given to and received from parents increases the positive emotions felt and the quality of the relationship (Bengtson & Roberts, 1991 Roberts, Richards, & Bengtson, 1991). Reciprocity is considered as a universal norm in social relationships. The stability of social relationships is thus based on the expectation that the help and support given to another person will be reciprocated by this person in an adequate period of time and in a contingent way (Gouldner, 1960). Reciprocity among family members does not have to be of the same kind and can be established over the course of a lifetime in the way of ���support banks��� (Antonucci, 1985). Even though the norm of reciprocity is not as important in family rela- tionships as in other kinds of relationships, there is empirical support for the assumption that the norm of reciprocity applies to family relationships as well. For instance, studies on German samples confirmed that the major- ity of adult children, middle-aged parents, and grandparents experienced a balance of give and take in instrumental help and communication (Alt, 1994 Schulz, 1996).