Sociology, Department of


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Published in The Journal of Applied Gerontology, 20:2 (June 2001), pp. 214-229. Copyright © 2001 The Southern Gerontological Society; published by Sage Publications. Used by permission.


Based on a sample of matched adult children and aging parents in the rural Mid¬west, this study examined the effects of family relationship history on depressive symptoms among elderly parents. The study used reports from both adult chil¬dren and aging parents regarding intergenerational affectional solidarity and re¬lationship strain. Aging parents reported levels of depressed affect. Adult chil¬dren’s recalled early relationships with their parents were associated with elderly parents’ reports of depressed affect through the effects of early family relation¬ships on contemporary relationships. Reports of early relationships and contem¬porary relationships were separated by 5 years. It is suggested that family rela¬tionship characteristics persist across time and that family relationship patterns affect the abilities of family members to negotiate support for elderly parents.

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