Commentary: The Future of Intergenerational Relationships--Variability and Vulnerabilities

TitleCommentary: The Future of Intergenerational Relationships--Variability and Vulnerabilities
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSzinovacz, ME
EditorSchaie, KW, Uhlenberg, P
Book TitleSocial Structures: The impact of demographic changes on the well-being of older persons
CityNew York
Call Numbernewpubs20080528_szinovacz2007
KeywordsAdult children, Demographics, Healthcare

Demographic and family structural changes since the mid-1900s will shape family relationships will into the 21st century. Hagestad and Uhlenberg (chapter 15, this volume) argue that these demographic changes promote age integration and closeness in intergenerational relations while at the same time enhancing age segregation in nonfamily social structures. Their rather rosy depiction of intergenerational relationships contrasts sharply with the more bleak picture of dying family bonds and of intergenerational conflict painted by other scholars (Kornhaber, 1966; Williamson, Watts-Roy and Kingson, 1999). While Hagestad and Uhlenberg's chapter depicts historical trends in intergenerational relationships, this commentary addresses the questions of whether and to what extent future intergenerational relationships will benefit from recent and continuing demographic and family structural changes. Focusing on intergenerational relations in the United States, I will first explore demographic changes other than those noted by Hagestad and Uhlenberg that influence intergenerational relationships, most importantly, trends in divorce and the timing of parenthood. Second, I will address heterogeneity in demographic changes among subpopulations and resulting variability in the future of intergenerational relationships. Third, I will discuss the potential vulnerabilities in intergenerational supports, especially care for the elderly and grandparents' access to and care for grandchildren.


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Endnote Keywords

Intergenerational Relations/Family Structure/Caregiving/Demographic Trends and Forecasts

Endnote ID


Short TitleCommentary: The Future of Intergenerational Relationships--Variability and Vulnerabilities
Citation Key5220