There are few legal or social sanctions in the U.S. requiring adults to provide assistance for their parents or grown offspring, but middle-aged adults frequently exchange assistance with generations above and below them. A burgeoning literature shows that most adults also experience frustration and tensions with parents and grown offspring. The proposed study examines:
Aim 1) patterns of exchanges with parents vs. offspring (what is exchanged and who does the exchanging), Aim 2) beliefs about these exchanges, and Aim 3) feelings about these exchanges and relationships. We also consider parents' and offspring's reports of the exchanges. The study fills a large gap in the literature by examining psychological processes (e.g., beliefs, feelings) associated with exchanges and considering multiple family members' perspectives on these exchanges. Participants will include 400 European American and 220 African American adults aged 40 to 60 who have at least one living parent and one child over the age of 18. Stratified sampling will assure distributions by gender, age, and ethnicity. A randomly selected parent and offspring of target participants will also complete an interview. Computer assisted telephone interviews (CATI) will include open-ended and forced-choice items. The analytic strategy will rely on multilevel models (MLM). MLM will allow us to consider middle- aged adults' perceptions of exchanges across multiple support domains (e.g., instrumental, financial, emotional) with multiple family members. These analyses will include characteristics of the middle-aged adult (e.g., ethnicity, personality), family member (e.g., age), and relationship (e.g., parent vs. offspring) to understand patterns of exchanges. We will also use MLM to examine multiple family members' (middle-aged adult, offspring, parent) reports of exchanges, as well as agreements and disagreements in family members', views of supports and feelings. Unique contributions of the study include examination of: different family members' reports of support within the same family (Aim 1); beliefs about motivations underlying exchanges with parents and offspring (Aim 2); positive and negative feelings about everyday exchanges and relationships (Aim 3). Prior studies have linked positive relationships with others to decreased morbidity and mortality at midlife, but research has not identified the mechanisms through which relationships influence health. Findings from this study will have implications for understanding how provision and receipt of support are associated with variability in health at midlife. Findings also will be of use to policy makers concerning expectations and feelings adults hold regarding familial versus public obligations. Furthermore, clinicians may draw on findings to assist adults who provide care to grown children or parents. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP)
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Nielsen, Lisbeth
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Purdue University
Other Domestic Higher Education
West Lafayette
United States
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Polenick, Courtney A; DePasquale, Nicole; Eggebeen, David J et al. (2018) Relationship Quality Between Older Fathers and Middle-Aged Children: Associations With Both Parties' Subjective Well-Being. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 73:1203-1213
Huo, Meng; Graham, Jamie L; Kim, Kyungmin et al. (2018) Aging Parents' Disabilities and Daily Support Exchanges With Middle-Aged Children. Gerontologist 58:872-882
Fingerman, Karen L; Huo, Meng; Graham, Jamie L et al. (2018) A Family Affair: Family Typologies of Problems and Midlife Well-Being. Gerontologist 58:1054-1064
Davis, Eden M; Kim, Kyungmin; Fingerman, Karen L (2018) Is an Empty Nest Best?: Coresidence With Adult Children and Parental Marital Quality Before and After the Great Recession. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 73:372-381
Seidel, Amber J; Yorgason, Jeremy B; Polenick, Courtney A et al. (2018) Are You Sleeping? Dyadic Associations of Support, Stress, and Worries Regarding Adult Children on Sleep. Gerontologist 58:341-352
Bangerter, Lauren R; Polenick, Courtney A; Zarit, Steven H et al. (2018) Life Problems and Perceptions of Giving Support: Implications for Aging Mothers and Middle-Aged Children. J Fam Issues 39:917-930
Polenick, Courtney A; Fredman, Steffany J; Birditt, Kira S et al. (2018) Relationship Quality with Parents: Implications for Own and Partner Well-Being in Middle-Aged Couples. Fam Process 57:253-268
Heid, Allison R; Kim, Kyungmin; Zarit, Steven H et al. (2018) Relationship Tensions and Mood: Adult Children's Daily Experience of Aging Parents' Stubbornness. Pers Relatsh 25:87-102
Jensen, Alexander C; Whiteman, Shawn D; Fingerman, Karen L (2018) ""Can't live with or without them:"" Transitions and young adults' perceptions of sibling relationships. J Fam Psychol 32:385-395
Polenick, Courtney A; Birditt, Kira S; Zarit, Steven H (2018) Parental Support of Adult Children and Middle-Aged Couples' Marital Satisfaction. Gerontologist 58:663-673

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