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The Effect of Widowhood on Intergenerational Ambivalence

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Ha, Jung-Hwa, and Berit Ingersoll-Dayton. 2008. "The Effect of Widowhood on Intergenerational Ambivalence." The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 63B(1): S49-S58.

Objectives. The purpose of this study was to examine (a) the extent to which widowhood affects older adults' ambivalence about their adult children, (b) the role of intergenerational dependence in explaining the effect of widowhood on parent-child ambivalence, and (c) temporal changes in the effects of widowhood on ambivalence. Methods. We based analyses on Changing Lives of Older Couples, a prospective study of 1,532 married individuals aged 65 and older. We used ordinary least squares regression models to estimate the direct effect of widowhood and the mediating effects of dependence on intergenerational ambivalence 6 and 18 months after spousal loss. Results. Widowhood was associated with a decrease in ambivalent feelings toward adult children 6 months after spousal toss, which was partially explained by a reduction in the extent to which children were dependent upon their bereaved parents. However, at 19 months, widowhood did not exert any significant influence on intergenerational ambivalence.

Country of focus: United States.

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