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Intergenerational Ambivalence: A New Approach to the Study of Parent-Child Relations in Later Life

Kurt Luescher and Karl Pillemer
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 60, No. 2 (May, 1998), pp. 413-425
DOI: 10.2307/353858
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353858
Page Count: 13
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Intergenerational Ambivalence: A New Approach to the Study of Parent-Child Relations in Later Life
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Abstract

Social scientific interest in intergenerational relationships between adults has increased in recent years. However, there is a lack of theoretical work that allows for the integration of research findings. Further, there has been a tendency to interpret intergenerational relationships within limited frameworks that emphasize either intergenerational solidarity or conflict. In contrast, we propose that ambivalence is a more useful organizing concept for understanding intergenerational relations. In this article, we argue that relationships between the generations in families are structured such that they generate various types of ambivalence. We then discuss three aspects of intergenerational relationships that are likely to be ambivalent and propose an agenda for future research.

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