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Sibling Structure and Intergenerational Relations

Glenna Spitze and John R. Logan
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Nov., 1991), pp. 871-884
DOI: 10.2307/352994
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352994
Page Count: 14
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Sibling Structure and Intergenerational Relations
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Abstract

This study examines effects of adult siblings' number, gender, and birth order on their relationships with parents. Hypotheses are developed regarding potential effects of childhood socialization processes and availability of alternative adult siblings on amount of visiting, telephone contact, and help from adult children to aging parents. With data from a local probability sample survey, relationships are examined from two points of view: respondents as adult children and respondents as parents in relation to each of their adult children. The analyses show no evidence for effects of sibling structure through effects on closeness to parents, attitudes about filial responsibilities, or attitudes about gender-typing of responsibilities. Number of siblings has a consistent negative effect on all dependent variables, and this effect may be stronger for women. Only children have more contact and help parents more than others, but there are no consistent effects of more detailed measures of sibling number and gender or of birth order. The authors emphasize the importance of keeping the parental point of view in mind when interpreting these results, and suggest that future research investigate these relations from the perspectives of both parent and child.

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