Intergenerational transmission of parent-child relationship quality: Evidence from a multi-actor survey

Karsten Hank, Veronika Salzburger, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Intergenerational transmission is a long-standing interest of social science research. However, little attention has been devoted to the study of transmission of relationship quality between several generations of family members. Exploiting multigenerational multi-actor data from the German Family Panel (pairfam), we estimate multilevel models to investigate whether, in three-generation families, relationship quality between the middle generation and the oldest (that is, grandparent) generation predicts relationship quality between the youngest generation of adolescent children and the middle generation. Our results reveal evidence of intergenerational transmission of emotional closeness, conflict, and ambivalence. Transmission was more consistently observed when emanating from ties to grandfathers than from ties to grandmothers. A hypothesis concerning differences in the strength of transmission between East Germany and West Germany found no support. The paper concludes with a discussion of limitations and perspectives for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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