Do safety nets work? The role of anticipated help in times of need

David Eggebeen, Adam Davey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


A sample of parents (aged 50+) drawn from the 1988 and 1992 waves of the National Survey of Families and Households was used to examine two questions: How responsive is support from adult children in times of need? Is support from children greater for those who expected their children to provide help? Parents who experience one or more transitions in the time between survey waves are likely to receive help from their adult children over and above previous exchange patterns. Responsiveness on the part of children does not appear to be linked with parental expectations, however. Neither general value orientations about what children should do to support parents, nor expectations of help from one's own children in hypothetical situations are related to children's responsiveness to parental needs. Results are consistent with a contingent exchange perspective on intergenerational relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-950
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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