9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Intergernerational Relationships: Solidarity Building II, C5.06

Multiple Older Parent-Adult Child Relations: Assessing between and within Family Variation in later Life

The parent-child bond in later life is generally characterized as close and supportive. Although it is assumed that there is a huge variety of relationships between older parents and their adult children, most of the research up to date examined particular parent-child dyads or children grouped as a composite. Therefore, this study attends to multiple parent-adult child relations, and focuses on variation between and within families. On the one hand, emotional closeness is assessed as an indicator for the overall quality of the relationship. According to Ward (2008), mixed quality of parent-adult child relations within families can be expected as a common pattern. In addition, monetary transfers towards children are examined. It is well established, that parental resources, children´s needs as well as relationship quality contribute to the probability of transfers (Motel & Szydlik, 1999; Motel-Klingebiel & Mahne 2009). Given the fact, that increasing numbers of siblings lower a child´s likelihood of receiving a transfer, it is assumed that within family variation concerning transfers is lower than between family variance.
Analyses are based on the second wave of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS), a nationally representative multi-purpose study of the German population aged 40 and older. The subsample for our analyses consists of participants with at least two adult, non-cohabiting children, resulting in a number of 3,660 dyads. Variance component analysis is used in a multilevel intercepts only model.
Results show significant between and within variance for both emotional closeness and transfers. Between level variance is higher than within level variance each with closeness and transfers, pointing to different family patterns. Looking at the within level, variance is higher for emotional closeness than for transfers. Therefore, it is assumed that it is more common to experience different relationship qualities, whereas parents tend to treat their children equally in terms of financial support and that transfer probabilities are primarily based on the older givers´ resources. Such results back the assumption of an amplification of social inequality by private intergenerational transfer within the family.