Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Relationships more important than genetic ties when deciding who cares for aging family, study finds

Date:
October 18, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have found that relationship quality trumps genetic ties when determining caregiving obligations. Researchers studied how divorce and remarriage affect beliefs about who should care for aging relatives and found that relationship quality, a history of mutual help, and resource availability influence decisions about who cares for parents and stepparents.

America's elderly population will nearly double by 2050, according to a Pew Research report. As baby boomers enter retirement, concern exists as to who will care for them as they age. Traditionally, children have accepted the caregiving responsibilities, but those caregiving roles are becoming blurred as more families are affected by divorce and remarriage than in previous decades. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that relationship quality trumps genetic ties when determining caregiving obligations.

Related Articles


Lawrence Ganong, a professor and co-chair in the MU Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences (HES), studied how divorce and remarriage affect beliefs about who should care for aging relatives. He found that relationship quality, a history of mutual help, and resource availability influence decisions about who cares for parents and stepparents.

"The idea that family obligations are based on genetic ties is not true for most Americans," Ganong said. "How close family members are to each other, how much they have been helped by them in the past, and what hardships caregiving might place on family members are important factors when people consider caring for older kin."

Ganong and Marilyn Coleman, Curators' Professor in HES, presented study participants with hypothetical caregiving scenarios involving an aging parent or stepparent and a child or stepchild. Participants then responded to questions about their perceptions of who should provide care. The majority of participants said biological factors are relevant in caregiving decisions, but they do not automatically require adult children to help older relatives.

"Based on what happens before, during and after marital transitions, family members may change what they think their responsibilities are regarding helping and providing care to kin," Ganong said. "As a society that relies on families to provide much of the care for older adults, we need to better understand the effects of changes in families due to divorce and remarriage."

Ganong recommends that middle-aged adults have honest conversations with parents and stepparents about expectations for caregiving and other types of assistance before needs arise.

Ganong presented the paper, "Who Gets Custody of Grandma After the Divorce? How Marital Transitions Affect Family Caregiving Responsibilities," at the 10th International Family Nursing Conference in Kyoto, Japan, earlier this year.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Relationships more important than genetic ties when deciding who cares for aging family, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018131343.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2011, October 18). Relationships more important than genetic ties when deciding who cares for aging family, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018131343.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Relationships more important than genetic ties when deciding who cares for aging family, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018131343.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins