Parent-Child Relationships Across the Life Course: An Examination of Children and Parents’ Reports

Xing Zhang , University of Wisconsin-Madison
Annaliese Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Parent-child relationships are increasingly central in family life due to the delaying transition to adulthood. Using data from Add Health and the Add Health Parent Study from 1994-2018, we examine changes in parent-child relationships reported from the child and the parent across gender, race, ethnicity, and SES from ages 12-43 years old. For the overall sample, parent-child closeness remains high but decreases from ages 12-43. By gender, we find that daughters report lower relationship quality with their mothers and fathers in adolescence. By race and ethnicity, we find that parent-child closeness is highest among Black adolescents and adults. By SES, we find that respondents whose mothers attained less than a high school degree report the greatest mother-child closeness. Parents (ages 47-80) also report providing more instrumental and financial support to their adult children (ages 34-43) than vice versa. Overall, parents remain an important source of emotional, instrumental, and financial support in the transition to adulthood.

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 Presented in Session 245. Interpersonal Relationships in Families