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Socio-economic and lifestyle determinants of giving practical support to adult children in the era of changing late life

  • ANU SIREN (a1) and FREYA CASIER (a1)

Abstract

While research evidence indicates that older adults provide substantial amounts of financial, emotional and practical support to their adult children, little is known about the lifestyle-related drivers of providing such support or how these may be associated with changing late life in late modernity. Emerging popular discourses increasingly portray older adults as a group adopting new lifestyles, pursuing their own interests and rejecting normative family obligations. Using data from the Danish Longitudinal Study of Ageing, we examine first, cohort, age and period trends in the provision of informal support in 1997–2012 in Denmark; and second, the socio-economic and lifestyle factors associated with the likelihood of providing help to adult children. We find notably that, overall, older adults’ provision of informal support to their adult children has increased over time and that active lifestyles do not decrease the provision of support to adult children. However, in later mid-life (52–62 years), having full-time employment and high work-related stress decreases the likelihood of providing help. The results indicate that while older adults play an important role in providing support, external stressors such as work–life imbalance in later life may interfere with their engagement in intergenerational relationships.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Anu Siren, The Danish Centre for Social Science Research VIVE, DK-1052 Copenhagen, Denmark E-mail: anu@vive.dk

References

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