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"Midlife Crises": Understanding the Changing Nature of Relationships in Middle Age Canadian Families


  • Karen M. Kobayashi


This paper focuses on the transitions that mark middle age (e.g., the ‘empty nest’, caregiving) and are triggered by the occurrence of life events in families (e.g., adult children leaving home, care for aging parents). It is noted that home-leaving by adult children has been taking longer in recent years, and in many instances adult children return to their natal home after having left. Support for older parents is becoming a significant issue in Canada as a result of population aging. Of course, the experience of such life events as taking care of older parents varies according to individuals’ situations, and these can be quite varied. The paper therefore examines some of the diversity of mid-life families by describing patterns of separation and divorce, remarriage, same-sex relationships, and childlessness. It concludes with a discussion of the relationship between mid-life families and social policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Karen M. Kobayashi, 2007. ""Midlife Crises": Understanding the Changing Nature of Relationships in Middle Age Canadian Families," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 212, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:212

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    midlife; families; and intergenerational relationships;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General

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