Intergenerational relationships and transfers between older adults and their co-resident and not co-resident children. Outcomes of the International Comparative Research Program GGP
Jenny Gierveld, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Older adults who are socially isolated from family members and others or not optimally embedded in the social community may face tremendous challenges in ageing well. Partner status and family relationships are considered to be among the most important integrating bodies during the life course. However, the degree of integration offered by the partner and family relationships differ by the quality of these relationships at the one hand and by the size and functioning of the familial network at the other hand. Moreover, the size and type of the living arrangement as well as size and functioning of the familial network are related to the restrictions with which older adults have been confronted during their life course: health, age, gender and socio-economic position. The general research question in this project is: What are the patterns of intergenerational relationships between older adults and their children and what are the effects of the different types of relationships on the well-being of older adults? The dependent variable in this project is conceptualized on the continuum ranging from social integration to loneliness. An internationally tested, reliable and valid measuring instrument for the dependent variable is available. In answering the research question, characteristics of living arrangements (size, composition, partner status, partner history) in combination with characteristics of the familial relationships (number of children alive, contact frequency, a selection of transfers) have been investigated and proved to be crucial in predicting loneliness of older adults. A special characteristic of this project is the international comparative orientation: The situation of older adults in different countries (France, Germany, the Russian Federation, Bulgaria and Georgia) have been investigated and will be presented.