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Adult Children's Propensity to Care for an Elderly Parent: Does the Marital Status of the Parent Matter?


  • Jodi Messer Pelkowski

    (Wichita State University)


This paper examines the role of adult children in the informal care of the elderly. The Health and Retirement Study data are used to investigate the characteristics of the caregivers and their relationship with the parent(s) receiving care. The expectation of receiving a bequest in the future does not appear to be the motivating factor of providing care. Surprisingly, the working status of the adult child has little impact on the propensity to provide personal care to parents. Regardless of marital status, the parent(s) and child living within 10 miles of each other and the parent(s) needs were important factors in the provision of care. Males and adult children with living sisters are less likely to provide care than their counterparts. The estimates suggest that factors that influence the propensity to provide care and financial assistance do vary somewhat according to the marital status of the parent.

Suggested Citation

  • Jodi Messer Pelkowski, 2005. "Adult Children's Propensity to Care for an Elderly Parent: Does the Marital Status of the Parent Matter?," Journal of Economic Insight (formerly the Journal of Economics (MVEA)), Missouri Valley Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 17-39.
  • Handle: RePEc:mve:journl:v:31:y:2005:i:1:p:17-39

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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General


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