2004
Volume 85, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0025-9454
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2816

Abstract

Why do adult children support their parents and how can we explain differences among children in this respect? Similarly, why do people support their adult children and why are some parents more supportive than others? In this paper, an overview is given of three explanations of intergenerational support: a theory about exchange, a theory about altruism, and a theory about social norms. Because these theories have different underlying models of behavior, they have been competing with each other in past research. I discuss the mechanisms and problems behind these general theories and how they have been applied to the theme of intergenerational support. Next, I give an overview of different fields of research in which these theories (or parts of them) have been tested. The focus is on three different research traditions which have had different ways of testing the theories: demographic and sociological research which has emphasized the life course concept, economic research which has emphasized financial transfers, and psychological research which has focused on wellbeing. Assorted findings from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study, a large-scale panel study of family relations in the Netherlands, serve as empirical illustrations.

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/content/journals/10.5117/MEM2010.1.KALM
2010-03-01
2021-09-21
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  • Article Type: Research Article

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