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Solidarity Theory

This entry describes concepts related to solidarity theory developed by sociologist and gerontologist Vern Bengtson for the study of intergenerational relationships. Although the theory primarily focused on intergenerational relations in later life, the concepts continue to be useful to scholars examining family relationships across adulthood. The theory arose to explain connections between parents and children in adulthood. Prior to solidarity theory, there was an assumption that bonds between parents and children weakened when children grew up and left home. Solidarity theory introduced the premise that intergenerational bonds in adulthood are retained and may vary across a number of dimensions (values, contact, support, emotion). In particular, the theory highlights the importance of considering family relationships between adults within the family context and within a particular historical ...

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