Intergenerational Support to Aging Parents

The Role of Norms and Needs

Published In: Journal of Family Issues, v. 27, no. 8, Aug. 2006, p. 1068-1084

Posted on on January 01, 2006

by Merril Silverstein, Daphna Gans

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This investigation examines how norms of filial responsibility influence adult children to provide social support to their aging parents. Relying on intergenerational solidarity and social capital theories, the authors hypothesize that filial responsibility as a latent resource is more strongly converted into support when (a) the parent experiences increased need and (b) the child in question is a daughter. Using data from 488 adult children in the Longitudinal Study of Generations, the authors examine change in support provided between 1997 and 2000. Declining health of either parent increases the strength with which filial norms predisposed children to provide support. The conversion of filial norms into support is stronger among daughters than among sons but only toward mothers. Results are discussed in terms of the contingent linkage between latent and manifest functions and the persistence of gender role differentiation in the modem family

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.