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Relationships between Adult Children and Their Parents: Psychological Consequences for Both Generations

Debra Umberson
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 54, No. 3 (Aug., 1992), pp. 664-674
DOI: 10.2307/353252
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353252
Page Count: 11
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Relationships between Adult Children and Their Parents: Psychological Consequences for Both Generations
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Abstract

A theoretical framework is developed to explain how parent/adult child relationships affect adult children's and parents' psychological distress levels. Data from a 1986 national survey (n = 3,618) are analyzed to test hypotheses derived from this framework. Results show that (a) the quality of intergenerational relationships appears to be influenced by the structural circumstances of parents and adult children—especially as defined by divorced status, gender, and age; (b) the negative aspects of intergenerational relationships are more strongly associated with psychological distress of parents and adult children than are the positive aspects; and (c) the estimated effects of intergenerational relationships on distress levels sometimes depend on the structural circumstances of parents and children.

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