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Intergenerational Relationships

Publication details

Bernhard Nauck, Anja Steinbach

Intergenerational relationships within family and kinship have become a salient issue in scientific research. Major reasons were intense demographic changes in the 20th century, such as the increased life expectancy in combination with decreased fertility, and its implications for major institutions of the social welfare state. This has resulted in the realization of several larger studies, which may serve for the analysis of the situation of old aged people, such as the German Socio-economic Panel, the Generations and Gender Survey, the Family Survey, the German Aging Survey, the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, and the Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics. However, an overarching theoretical and research perspective on intergenerational relationships from their creation (fertility) over parenting to the most long-lasting relationship between adults of different generations is still missing. In order to overcome this deficiency, the paper recommends for future data structures to obtain information on intergenerational relationships (1) simultaneously and complete, (2) in a life-span perspective, (3) from a panel design, and (4) a multi-actor design. Studies should (5) account for cultural variability of intergenerational relationships and (6) for institutional settings in cross-national comparisons.

Keywords: Intergenerational Relationships, Intergenerational Solidarity, Life Course, Demographic Change, Ageing, Panel Studies