Intergenerational Solidarity in Adulthood: The Role of Family Norms in Intergenerational Support and Ambivalence

Isabelle Albert, Dieter Ferring


Starting from Bengtson's solidarity paradigm, we will investigate
the role of internalized family norms in intergenerational support
as well as experienced ambivalence from the adult child
perspective. We assume that internalized family norms are an
important determinant of relationship regulation as they have an
impact both on the selection of specific behavior as well as on its
evaluation. As a consequence, own and others' behavior should
be most positively evaluated if it is in line with internalized norms
and values. In contrast, if intergenerational solidarity and support
exchange do not converge with internalized norms and expectations,
ambivalence might be experienced. These assumptions are
examined in a sample of N = 131 middle-aged adults living in
Luxembourg and Germany. Findings showed that normative
aspects of intergenerational solidarity were less important
compared to affective aspects when predicting support exchange
between adult children and their parents; however, family values
had a moderating role in the relation between support exchange
and ambivalence. Results are discussed with respect to the
centrality of values in implicitly and explicitly guiding support
behavior within families.


intergenerational solidarity; social support; adult child-parent relations; family values; ambivalence

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Copyright (c) 2018 Isabelle Albert, Dieter Ferring

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096