Norms of filial responsibility for aging parents across time and generations

Daphna Gans, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


This investigation examined the normative expectation that adult children should be responsible for the care of their aging parents, and how this norm changes over the adult life span, across several decades of historical time, in relation to generational position in families, and between successive generations. Analyses were performed using 4 waves of data from the University of Southern California (USC) Longitudinal Study of Generations between 1985 and 2000. A multilevel latent growth model was estimated using 4,527 observations from 1,627 individuals nested within 333 families. Results revealed that filial norms weakened after midlife, in response to parental death, and over historical time, yet strengthened in later-born generations. Findings are discussed in terms of the malleability of filial responsibility over the life course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-976
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Families in mid and later life
  • Filial norms
  • Growth curve analysis
  • Intergenerational relations
  • Life course

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Norms of filial responsibility for aging parents across time and generations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this