Divorce, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Perceived Support

I-Fen Lin, Bowling Green State University

Using two waves of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, I examine how parental divorce and remarriage affect parent-child relationships and exchanges in midlife, and consequently how parents’ ties with their children affect parental perceptions of support availability in late life, with particular attention to gender differences. This analysis shows that parental divorce lowers parent-child solidarity in midlife, particularly for fathers. Divorced parents are also less likely than married parents to name their adult children as potential sources of support. Remarriage and having stepchildren do not improve parental beliefs about potential support from adult children. Surprisingly, the association between parental divorce and perceptions of support cannot be explained by intergenerational solidarity in midlife.

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Presented in Session 54: Family Relationships and Exchanges