Stability and Change in Intergenerational Family Relations Across Two Decades: Findings From the German Ageing Survey, 1996–2014

Anja Steinbach, University of Duisburg-Essen
Katharina Mahne, Technical University of Berlin
Daniela Klaus, German Center of Gerontology
Karsten Hank , University of Cologne

Analyzing four rounds of data from the German Ageing Survey, covering the period 1996-2014, we monitor stability and change in four dimensions of adult parent-child relationships. We observed a continuous decrease in parent-child geographic proximity between 1996 and 2008, but no further increase in distance thereafter. There was no change in intergenerational frequency of contact or emotional closeness between 1996-2014. Parents’ propensity to support a child tended to decrease in the early 2000s, with signs of recovery in 2014. Whereas parents’ receipt of material support from children remained stable, their probability to receive instrumental support declined between 1996-2008, but not any further thereafter. We conclude that temporal patterns of intergenerational solidarities within countries might be characterized simultaneously by stability and change. Family members appear to react to variations in social and economic circumstances with behavioral changes allowing them to maintain high levels of overall intergenerational solidarity.

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 Presented in Session 137. Families and Aging