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Returns home by children and changes in parents’ well-being in Europe

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  • Tosi, Marco
  • Grundy, Emily

Abstract

Co-resident adult children may be a source of emotional and instrumental support for older parents, but also a source of conflict and stress. Results from previous research are far from conclusive and indicate that intergenerational co-residence may have both negative and positive effects on parents' depressive symptoms and physical health. We analyse longitudinal data from four waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (2007-2015) to examine whether returns to the parental home by adult children are associated with changes in the quality of life of parents aged 50-75. Results from fixed effects linear regression models show that returns to the parental home by adult children were associated with decreases in parents' quality of life and that this largely reflected declines associated with the return of a child to an ‘empty nest’ where no other children were still co-resident. In line with previous research which has indicated differing effects of co-residence on parents' depressive symptoms by cultural tradition, this effect was largely driven by decreases in parents' quality of life in a grouping of Nordic/social-democratic. There were no associations between changes in parental quality of life and the returning child's characteristics, although unemployment of a child was negatively, and new partnership of a child, positively associated with changes in parental quality of life.

Suggested Citation

  • Tosi, Marco & Grundy, Emily, 2018. "Returns home by children and changes in parents’ well-being in Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 200(C), pages 99-106.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:200:y:2018:i:c:p:99-106
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.01.016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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