Relationship Between Parents and Adult Children: Concepts for Analysis

Relationship Between Parents and Adult Children:
Concepts for Analysis

Gurko T.A.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Chief researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia

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For citation:

Gurko T.A. Relationship Between Parents and Adult Children: Concepts for Analysis. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 12. P. 105-115


The relevance of studying the relationship between parents and adult children is due to a number of factors that since the beginning of the new century have significantly influenced intergenerational relations around the world. These are technological, economic, political, and demographic changes. The projected decrease in the income of the working middle generation with children, deurbanization, localization, and other circumstances in connection with the global crisis may also affect the dynamics of relations between adult children and parents, which may be the subject for special analysis. Changing the models of interaction between parents and adult children can become one of the adaptive strategies in Russia, where in comparison with other countries the quality of life of people in retirement age is the worst. The article sets the task of systematization of the conceptual apparatus for studying the relationship between parents and adult children. The relevance and scientific significance of the subject area are substantiated. Definitions and examples of verification of concepts care, solidarity, conflict, ambivalence and alienation are presented. When analyzing the results of empirical research using these concepts, the study of the components of solidarity is presented in greater detail. At the macro level, the relationship between adult children and parents depends on cultural traditions, level of modernization of various countries, social regime, and urban/rural areas. At the micro level, the results of foreign and Russian studies demonstrate the dependence of these relationships with gender, social class, ethnic group, marital status of children and their parents. The emphasis is made on the feasibility of using unified indicators and indices of the presented concepts to ensure comparability of the obtained empirical results in order to analyze both short-term and long-term trends. Practical relevance of such research in Russia is linked to the need to develop social support measures and forecast the role of family vs state/private institutions in the care and support of older people

parents; children; grandchildren; gender; age; care; solidarity; conflict; ambivalence; alienation
Content No 12, 2020