Family Relationships in Later Life
Directed towards researchers and practitioners in family studies and gerontology, this completely revised Second Edition of Family Relationships in Later Life provides an innovative new collection of research-based descriptions on family relations of older people. Each chapter summarizes existing literature on the topic and provides up-to-date original research. Topics addressed include: sibling relationships in later life; widowhood; ethnic differences; elder abuse and mistreatment; family care; and health problems.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Chapter 2: Aging Couples and the Family System
- Chapter 3: Sexuality and Marital Quality among Older Married Couples
- Chapter 4: The Adult Child and Older Parents
- Chapter 5: Sibling Interaction in Later Life
- Chapter 6: Grandparent and Grandchild Relationships
- Chapter 7: Sex Roles in the Older Family
- Chapter 8: Widowhood: Loss, Change, and Adaptation
- Chapter 9: The Unmarried Elderly: Age, Sex, and Ethnicity
- Chapter 10: Elder Abuse: Myth and Reality
- Chapter 11: Family Support in Relation to Health Problems of the Elderly
- Chapter 12: Variations among the Elderly in Black, Hispanic, and White Families
Other Recent Volumes in the SAGE Focus Editions[Page 2]
- Evaluation Research Methods (Second Edition) Leonard Rutman
- Controversy (Second Edition) Dorothy Nelkin
- Major Criminal Justice Systems (Second Edition) George F. Cole, Stanislaw J. Frankowski, and Marc G. Gertz
- Black Families (Second Edition) Harriette Pipes McAdoo
- Family Relationships in Later Life (Second Edition) Timothy H. Brubaker
- Organizational Theory and Inquiry Yvonna S. Lincoln
- Men in Families Robert A. Lewis and Robert E. Salt
- Communication and Group Decision-Making Randy Y. Hirokawa and Marshall Scott Poole
- The Organization of Mental Health Services W. Richard Scott and Bruce L. Black
- Community Power Robert J. Waste
- Intimate Relationships Daniel Perlman and Steve Duck
- Children's Ethnic Socialization Jean S. Phinney and Mary Jane Rotheram
- Power Elites and Organizations G. William Domhoff and Thomas R. Dye
- Responsible Journalism Deni Elliott
- Ethnic Conflict Jerry Boucher, Dan Landis, and Karen Arnold Clark
- Aging, Health, and Family Timothy H. Brubaker
- Critical Issues in Aging Policy Edgar F. Borgatta and Rhonda J. V. Montgomery
- The Homeless in Contemporary Society Richard D. Bingham, Roy E. Green, and Sammis B. White
- Changing Men Michael S. Kimmel
- Popular Music and Communication James Lull
- Life Events and Psychological Functioning Lawrence H. Cohen
- The Social Psychology of Time Joseph E. McGrath
- Measurement of Intergenerational Relations David J. Mangen, Vern L. Bengtson, and Pierre H. Landry, Jr.
- Feminist Perspectives on Wife Abuse Kersti Yllö and Michele Bograd
- Common Problems/Proper Solutions J. Scott Long
- Falling from the Faith David G. Bromley
- Biosocial Perspectives on the Family Erik E. Filsinger
- Measuring the Information Society Frederick Williams
- Behavior Therapy and Religion William R. Miller and John E. Martin
- Daily Life in Later Life Karen Altergott
- Lasting Effects of Child Sexual Abuse Gail Elizabeth Wyatt and Gloria Johnson Powell
- Violent Crime, Violent Criminals Neil Alan Weiner and Marvin E. Wolfgang
- Pathways to Criminal Violence Neil Alan Weiner and Marvin E. Wolfgang
- Older Adult Friendship Rebecca G. Adams and Rosemary Blieszner
- Aging and Health Kyriakos S. Markides
- The VCR Age Mark R. Levy
- Women in Mass Communication Pamela J. Creedon
- Midlife Loss Richard A. Kalish
- Cultivation Analysis Nancy Signorielli and Michael Morgan
- Black Students Gordon LaVern Berry and Joy Keiko Asamen
- Aging and Caregiving David E. Biegel and Arthur Blum
- Societal Psychology Hilde T. Himmelweit and George Gaskell
- Bilingual Education Amado M. Padilla, Halford H. Fairchild, and Concepcion M. Valadez
- Foreign Language Education Amado M. Padilla, Halford H. Fairchild, and Concepcion M. Valadez
- Debates on Evaluation Marvin C. Alkin
- Theories on Creativity Mark Andrew Runco and Robert S. Albert
- Understanding Troubled and Troubling Youth Peter E. Leone
- Preserving Families Ying-Ying T. Yuan and Michele Rivest
- Fashioning Family Theory Jetse Sprey
Copyright © 1990 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Main entry under title:
Family relationships in later life / edited by Timothy H. Brubaker. — 2nd ed.
Includes bibliographic references.
ISBN 0-8039-3321-5. — ISBN 0-8039-3322-3 (pbk.)
1. Aged—United States—Family relationships. 2. Aged—United States—Social Conditions. I. Brubaker, Timothy H.
FIRST PRINTING 1990
This book is dedicated to Puffin — a family member who is ageless.[Page 6]
Since the publication of the first edition (1983), research on some aspects of later-life family relationships has increased. Family relationships of older people are an important concern to social gerontologists and family scholars. Later-life family relationships are crucial to the designs and programs developed by researchers and practitioners. Family members of various ages are actively involved in older persons’ family networks. Older people who live independently and need little assistance have frequent contact with family members. Family members assist the older relatives who need assistance and who live in the community, as well as those who live in an institutionalized setting. In short, the later-life families are vital. This vitality contributes to the lives of older people and, at the same time, older persons enrich the lives of other family members.
This book is directed to researchers and practitioners in family studies and gerontology. Its premise is the assumption that attention to later-life family relationships is important to the development of reliable research designs, as well as to the establishment of service delivery systems that meet the needs of older persons and their families. One primary objective of this volume is to provide a review of research on family relationships in later life. In many cases, new research or theory is presented.
Within recent years, research has been directed toward specific family relationships of older people. Dyadic relationships such as husband-wife and intergenerational relationships including elderly parent-adult child and grandparent-grandchild have been examined. Other members (e.g., siblings, family caregivers, fictive kin) of the later-life family network have received attention. Research has focused on issues related to the older persons’ life events and family situations (e.g., retirement, sexuality, sex roles, widowhood, divorce, abuse, and minority issues) that may influence family interaction in the later years. The chapters discuss these later-life family relationships and situations to provide information for future research directed toward older persons and their families.[Page 10]
The second primary objective is to suggest practice and policy implications of the research. Programs and policy directed toward older people and their families can be grounded in the family relationships identified by the research. Services and policies can enhance and compliment older persons’ family relationships. Knowledge of the various family relationships such as the husband-wife, adult child, sibling, and grandparent relationships is necessary to build services and policies that strengthen these relationships. For many older persons, the strength of their families is evidenced by the families’ lengthy history. Consequently, practice and policy may want to recognize the family history of older clients. Strong families complement services to older persons. One hopes that services and policies complement strong families.
From the perspectives of research and practice, each chapter focuses on one aspect of later-life family relationships. A thorough review of the literature is presented, and then, either new research or suggestions for applying this information to practice is discussed. As a collection of chapters, this volume provides a research-based description of the family relationships of older persons.
While the contributors to this volume represent a variety of disciplines, their attention is directed toward the family relationships of older people. The contributors include sociologists, psychologists, social workers, gerontologists, and family studies specialists. Their emphases reflect theory, research, and practice. It is hoped that this blend of disciplines and emphases will bridge the gaps between theory, research, and practice.
This volume is organized into three sections. Part I focuses on specific family relationships (e.g., husband-wife, parent-child, sibling, grandparent) of older people. Part II addresses a number of issues (sexuality, sex roles, widowhood, abuse, minority family) related to later-life families. Finally, Part III considers older persons’ family relationships and the implications for the development of practice and policy directed toward older persons.
Older persons’ family relationships are alive and well. Neither the importance of the family to older persons nor the reciprocity between older and younger generations can be minimized. Later-life families have a potential for enhancing family relationships at various stages of the family life cycle. Understanding family relationships in later life is useful to both family and gerontological researchers and practitioners.
The development of a book is very similar to the navigation of a vessel through a turbulent storm. The journey begins with heightened anticipation that soon gives way to the details of guiding and sailing the vessel. Then, the excitement returns when the vessel arrives safely at its destination. Most vessels have a crew to whom the drudgery is assigned. This book navigated through heightened anticipation, detailed organization, and development. Now, it is done and it is the crew who helped to bring the book to completion.
First, appreciation is expressed to each contributor. Their willingness to prepare their chapters and make revisions is admirable. The contributors’ patience and understanding in the development of this volume are appreciated.
The second group of individuals deserve special appreciation. These individuals worked on the tedious tasks associated with references, format, and other details. Mary Tharp was involved in every phase of the project, and it would not have been completed without her. Her pleasant approach and willingness to make changes are commendable. The laborious task of compiling a combined reference list was expertly handled by Julie Smith. She meticulously checked every reference. Both of these individuals contributed enormously to this project. Jennifer Bollinger, Samantha Inskeep, and Robin Heltzel professionally performed many tasks associated with the project. To each, I am grateful.
Finally, appreciation is expressed to the Family and Child Studies Center and the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Miami University. In many ways, these units facilitated completion of this project.
To all who participated in this project, we have, at last, completed our journey.[Page 12]
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About the Contributors[Page 316]
LINDA ADE-RIDDER graduated with a degree in marriage and family therapy in the Interdivisional Program between sociology and home and family life from the Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. She is Associate Professor of Individual and Family Studies, an adjunct of Women's Studies, and is an associate of the Family and Child Studies Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her research interests are focused around women's roles in the family, including women in long-term marriages, sexuality, parenting, and family violence.
CHARLES M. BARRESI is Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow, Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology at the University of Akron. He has published widely in social gerontology and is co-editor of Ethnic Dimensions of Aging (Springer Publishing Co., 1987). His recent areas of interest are in ethnogerontology, including family caregiving and long-term care. He is currently co-editing a book on ethnicity and long-term care.
VERN L. BENGTSON is Director of the Andrus Center's Gerontology Research Institute and Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. He received his B.A. at North Park College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He directs a Longitudinal Study of Three-Generation Families at USC as well as continuing research on the sociology of the life course, socialization, ethnicity, and aging. His publications include The Social Psychology of Aging (1973), Youth, Generations, and Social Change (with Robert Laufer, 1974), Grandparenthood (with Joan Robertson, 1985), The Measurement of Intergenerational Relations (with David Mangen and Pierre Landry, 1988), Emergent Theories of Aging (with James Birren, 1988), and The Course of Later Life (with K. Warner Schaie, 1989) as well as over 100 papers in professional journals and books. He is Past Chair of the American Sociological Association's Section on Aging, and is President-Elect of the Gerontological Society of America. He has been a member of review panels for NIMH and NIA; he has twice won the Reuben [Page 317]Hill Award for outstanding research and theory on the family, presented by the National Council on Family Relations. He most recently was awarded a MERIT award from the National Institute on Aging for his Longitudinal Study of Three-Generation Families project.
ELLIE BRUBAKER is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Her research has been published in a number of journals, such as Journal of Gerontological Social Work, Gerontology and Geriatrics Education, and American Behavioral Scientist. She is the author of Working with the Elderly: A Social Systems Approach. Her research interests are in the areas of social service delivery to older families.
TIMOTHY H. BRUBAKER is Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and is Director of the Family and Child Studies Center at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. His books include Family Relationships in Later Life (edited, 1983), Family Caregivers and Dependent Elderly (coauthored, 1984), Later Life Families (1985), Aging, Health and Family (edited, 1987), and Families in Rural America (coedited, 1988). His research has been published in a number of scholarly journals, and he has contributed chapters to many books. Currently, he is editor of Family Relations, published by the National Council on Family Relations.
VICTOR G. CICIRELLI is Professor of Development and Aging Psychology in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University. His research interests include parent-child relationships in later life, sibling relationships, and family support of the elderly. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, he is the author of the book Helping Elderly Parents: Role of Adult Children.
PATRICIA L. EVANS is Coordinator of the Human Services Degree Program, which she designed and implemented at Niagara County Community College, Sanborn, NY. She is also President and founder of Niagara Hospice, Inc. She received her M.S. from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, and is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at that university. Her academic interests are in the areas of widowhood and hospice care.
MARY ANNE GORMAN is Director of Residence Services at The Renaissance, Olmstead Township, Ohio. Her professional interests and research are in the area of older family caregiving and elderhostels.[Page 318]
GLORIA D. HEINEMANN is Director of the Interdisciplinary Team Training in Geriatrics (ITTG) Program at the Buffalo Veterans Administration Medical Center and a faculty member in the departments of Medicine and Social and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Heinemann is also Past President of the New York State Association of Gerontological Educators (SAGE). Her research interests include widowhood and the team approach to health care. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago.
MICHELE HIESTAND is Coordinator of Research and Education for the Southwestern Ohio Gerontology Institute, Maple Knoll Village, Cincinnati, Ohio. Her research and professional interests are in the areas of family caregiving and mother-daughter relationships in later life.
KIMBERLY HUNT is a graduate of the Sociology Department at the University of Akron, where she also received a degree in social work. She is presently employed as a medical/surgical social worker at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, where she is responsible for discharge planning for elderly patients. Her main areas of interest in gerontology are in family, service utilization, and ethnic/minority issues.
PAT M. KEITH is Professor of Sociology at Iowa State University, where she conducts research in gender roles and aging. She has recently published The Unmarried in Later Life (Praeger).
JOSEPH KUYPERS is Professor of Social Work at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is co-author (with Henry Maas) of From Thirty to Seventy (1974) and has published numerous articles in the areas of crisis intervention, adult life cycle development, and competence. His current research and writing focus on crisis and the older family.
ROBERT A. LEWIS is Professor in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. Dr. Lewis has edited four books, Assessing Marriage: New Behavioral Approaches, Men in Difficult Times, Men in Families, and Men's Changing Roles in Families, and has published more than 50 articles in journals, such as Journal of Marriage and the Family, Family Process, The International Journal of Sociology of the Family, The Journal of Sex, and The Archives of Sexual Behavior.[Page 319]
SHIRLEY A. LOCKERY is Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and Associate Director in the University Center on Aging at San Diego State University. She has published numerous book chapters and articles in professional journals.
JANIE K. LONG is a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. Her research interests include the role of friendship across adulthood, working with the elderly and their families in clinical settings, and social provisions in relationships with family and friends. She is currently working as a marriage and family therapist intern at Roanoke Valley Psychiatric Center. She is co-author of “The Parental Role and Parent-Child Relationship Provisions” in Aging Parents and Adult Children.
JAY A. MANCINI is Professor of Family Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Stale University, Blacksburg, VA. His work has appeared in Journal of Marriage and the Family, Family Relations, and Independent Aging: Family and Social Systems Perspectives. He is editor of Aging Parents and Adult Children.
K. MICHAEL PEDDECORD is Associate Professor in the Division of Health Service Administration at San Diego State University. He has published numerous articles in professional journals.
KAREN A. ROBERTO is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Gerontology Program at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research focuses on family and friend relationships in later life and the psychosocial effects of chronic health problems facing older women.
JEAN PEARSON SCOTT is Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. Her research interests focus mainly on family and friend support networks of older adults and the interface of informal and formal support systems. Recent research articles have addressed family caregiving during chronic illness, older women's issues, rural aging, and later-life marriage.
E. PERCIL STANFORD is Professor and Director of the University Center on Aging at San Diego State University. His major areas of interest include education and training in gerontology, retirement, job satisfaction, minority aging, service delivery, and policy development. His scholarly publications include books, several book chapters, and numerous articles in professional journals.[Page 320]
SUZANNE K. STEINMETZ, Ph.D, is Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Indiana. She received her doctorate in sociology from Case Western Reserve University. She was the coeditor with Murray Straus of Violence in the Family (1974), author of Cycle of Violence: Assertive, Aggressive, and Abusive Family Interaction (1977), coauthor with Murray Straus and Richard Gelles of Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family (1980), and coeditor with Marvin Sussman of Handbook of Marriage and the Family (1986), in addition to over 75 other publications. As an outgrowth of her research on elder abuse, she received federal funding to establish a Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly and produce a documentary film on stress and abuse in informal caregiving families, “After the Ball.”
ROBBYN R. WACKER is a student in the Department of Sociology at Iowa State University. Her research interests include health care utilization, later life families, and aging policy. She is currently a Midwest Council for Social Research on Aging predoctoral fellow.