Changes in childhood caregiving impressions among middle-aged and older adults

TitleChanges in childhood caregiving impressions among middle-aged and older adults
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsChopik, WJ, Oh, J, Challa, SR, Hua, HL, Maahs, JM, Smith, J
Keywordscaregiving impressions, divorce/separation, Health and Retirement Study, life span development, reminiscence bump

Childhood experiences and impressions are important
for individuals' health and well-being—they often set
the stage for how people approach relationships across
the lifespan and how they make sense of their relational worlds. However, impressions of these experiences are likely not static and can change over time,
even years after these experiences happened. The current study examined how impressions of parental relationships in childhood changed over time, and
predictors of these changes, among middle-aged and
older adults followed over a 4-year period (N = 2692;
Mage = 66.67, SD = 9.15; 64.1% women). Childhood
impressions of parental care were mostly stable over
time, with 53.5%–65.0% of participants reporting consistent impressions. Becoming divorced/separated as an
adult was associated with more negative impressions
about relationships with fathers in the past. Having a
mother pass away was associated with more positive
impressions of mothers' caregiving when participants
were children. Higher depressive symptoms at follow-up were associated with darker perceptions of the past—
more negative impressions of mothers and fathers as
caregivers. The current study is one of the most comprehensive studies of late-life changes in childhood impressions to date, suggesting future directions for studying
the organization of relational experiences and recollection over time.

Citation Key13354