Too much of a good thing? Intergenerational social support and the psychological well-being of older parents

Merril Silverstein, Xuan Chen, Kenneth Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

178 Scopus citations

Abstract

We propose that, although moderate amounts of intergenerational support are beneficial to older adults, excessive support received from adult children and provided to children may be harmful by virtue of eroding competence and imposing excessive demands, respectively. We tented our hypotheses using a sample of 539 older participants in the University of Southern California Longitudinal Study of Generations. Lagged regression models are estimated to predict nonlinear change in positive and negative mood over 3 years. Results reveal that among the unmarried and those with low expectations for support, a greater volume of support from children initially elevates positive mood but after the improvement reaches an asymptote, greater support begins to depress positive mood. Providing support to children reduces depression associated with being unmarried in later life but does not appear to increase distress at high levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-982
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Depression
  • Intergenerational support
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Too much of a good thing? Intergenerational social support and the psychological well-being of older parents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this