Patterns of familial support: older mothers' perceptions of the relationship quality with their daughters and sons
Marek, Lydia I.
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The intent of this study was to examine how perceived aid exchange patterns between mothers and adult children influence the mothers' perception of the quality of their relationship. We also examined how mothers’ characteristics (health, age, and marital status), children's characteristics (marital status and gender), and propinquity were associated with mothers' perceptions of giving and receiving of aid. The types of aid explored were Financial Help, Gifts Besides Money, Help With the House, Help During Sickness, Advice on Life's Problems, Advice on Decisions, Affection, and Overall Exchange of Aid. Aid patterns were classified as Mother Gave More, Child Gave More, About Equal Exchange, or No Exchange. Data were collected from interviews with 330 mothers, 65 years or older, using a six-stage sample selection process. Perceived relationship quality was significantly different for the four different aid pattern groups in regard to Financial Help, Gifts Besides Money, Advice on Life's Problems, and Overall Aid. Highest perceived relationship quality was found in those groups in which Child Gave More or in which there was About Equal Exchange. Lowest perceived relationship quality was found for the group Mother Gave More of these four types of aid. Mother's characteristics, child's characteristics, (except gender), and propinquity were not related to relationship quality. Differences in aid patterns were found between mother's health and Gifts Besides Money, Help When Sick, Affection, and Overall Aid; between mother's age and Advice on Life's Problems, Help When Sick, Help With House; between mother's marital status and Advice on Decisions, Help With House; between children's marital status and Financial Help, Gifts Besides Money, Help With House; between children's gender with Help With House; and between propinquity and Financial Help, Help When Sick, Help With House, Advice on Decisions.
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