Family as a context: The influence of family composition and family geographic dispersion on intergenerational relationships among Chinese elderly

Man Guo, Iris Chi, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined how the aggregate characters of family context (i.e. the number of children in a family and the geographic dispersion of family members) influence multiple parent-child relationships among Chinese elderly. The sample consisted of 1,103 older adults who lived in rural Anhui province, China, in 2009. The results of multiple regressions showed that the impact of family context on intergenerational relationships varied by the gender of both parents and children. Having more sons lowered both mothers' and fathers' ratings on their remotest parent-child ties, whereas having more daughters enhanced mothers' ratings on the closest ties. An average greater distance between parents and their adult children was associated with closer parent-child relationships. Having more children and greater within-family variability in parent-child proximity increased fathers' differentiations in their relationships with children. We interpreted the findings in the context of son-preference and large-scale out-migration in rural China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S18-S29
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Volume20
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chinese elderly
  • Family composition
  • Gender differences
  • Intergenerational relationships
  • Parent-child proximity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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