Linked Lives Within Families and Across Generations

Professorship/Faculty: Demography  
Authors: Leopold, Thomas
Publisher Information: Bamberg : opus
Year of publication: 2012
Pages / Size: 167 S.
Supervisor(s): Engelhardt-Wölfler, Henriette ; Schneider, Thorsten
Language(s): English
Bamberg, Univ., Diss., 2012
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY-NC - Attribution - NonCommercial 3.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-opus4-5563
Document Type: Doctoralthesis
Dramatic improvements in life expectancy coupled with declines in fertility have profoundly changed the structure of families. The number of living generations has increased whereas the size of each generation has decreased. One of the most important implications of this transformation “from pyramids to beanpoles” are longer years of shared lives between the generations. As a result, there is a remarkable increase in the availability of intergenerational kin as family resources and an extended period for supportive exchanges across the life course.

These current and projected trends are changing the face of families and will possibly lead to shifts in the supportive behavior between the generations. This raises a variety of new questions about the nature and dynamics of intergenerational linkages, in particular with regard to the provision of instrumental assistance. How do family support systems adapt to future demographic, social, and economic conditions in ageing societies? More specifically, how do parents support their offspring’s passage to independence and protect them against the risks of contemporary life courses? Conversely, can future cohorts of elderly parents rely on their children to provide help and care in later life?

This dissertation addresses these questions based on an integrative conceptual framework comprised of four analytical principles: A comprehensive life course perspective on intergenerational ties, covering multiple actors within families, considering the complexity of their relationships, and investigating the mechanisms that govern their supportive behavior. Five studies examine multiple transitions across the family life course, from leaving home to parental caregiving, thus covering and linking early, middle, and late periods of intergenerational relationships.

The overarching goals of this dissertation are to enrich theoretical models guiding the study of intergenerational relationships, to advance our understanding of supportive behavior within families, and to close important gaps in the empirical literature by analyzing multiple linkages across the shared lifetime of parents and their adult children.
SWD Keywords: Familie ; Generationsbeziehung ; Generationengerechtigkeit ; Intergenerative Belastungsrechnung ; Online-Publikation
Keywords: intergenerational relationships,, family sociology, intergenerational transfers, intergenerational solidarity, reciprocity
DDC Classification: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology 
RVK Classification: MS 2000   
Release Date: 11. July 2012

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