Patterns of intergenerational exchange and mental health

Adam Davey, David J. Eggebeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Past research on intergenerational exchanges suggests that parents and adult children remain vitally involved in supportive exchanges in later life. What has not been examined is the long-term importance of patterns of intergenerational exchange for individual mental health and well-being. Using data drawn from the two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households on adults aged 50 and older (N = 2237, M(Aga) = 62.3), we tested hypotheses dderived from three theoretical explanation of the relationship between exchange patterns and psychological well-being. We found strong evidence for the importance of contingent exchanges between parents and adult children in promoting older adults psychological well-being. Whereas receiving contingent exchange has positive consequences, noncontingent giving can have negative consequences around specific transitions in the lives of parents and children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-95
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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