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Intergenerational Communication

Intergenerational communication (IC) can be defined broadly as interactions between two distinct generations. The term generation can be considered based on role relationships (e.g., grandparent vs. grandchild; aging parent vs. adult children); age cohort (e.g., Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, Millennials); or developmental stage (e.g., adolescents, middle-aged adults, elders). These definitions reflect different theoretical perspectives, such as a lifespan approach, family dynamics, or intergroup theories, and they direct researchers’ attention to various aspects of communication and relationships across generations. Research on IC has added to understanding of antecedents, motivations, processes, and consequences of communication across generations, and the ways in which individual characteristics and/or social/historical context jointly shape our interpretations of and responses to such interactions.

This entry discusses a selected few theoretical foundations that have guided ...

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