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Caring for grandchildren and intergenerational support in rural China: a gendered extended family perspective


This investigation examines how support from adult children is affected by their parents' involvement in grandchild care. Instead of focusing on dyadic interactions, we adopt a gendered extended family perspective to examine how financial and emotional support from children was influenced when their siblings received help with child care from their elder parents. The data were from a two-wave (2001, 2003) longitudinal study of 4,791 parent–child dyads with 1,162 parents, aged 60 and older, living in rural areas of Anhui Province, China. Random effects regression showed that emotional support from both sons and daughters was strengthened when parents provided more child care for their other adult children; in addition, daughters were more emotionally responsive than sons under this situation. Concerning dyadic parent–child relationships, daughter and sons increased their financial support, and sons increased their emotional support when they themselves received help with child care from parents. We suggest taking a gendered extended family perspective when studying intergenerational relationships in rural China.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Zhen Cong, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Texas Tech University, Box 41230, Lubbock, Texas, 79416, USA. E-mail:
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