Should Parents Financially Support their Adult Children? Normative Views in Australia
Social welfare policies generally assume that parents remain responsible for adult children. Recent social changes in industrialized nations, however, have rendered family obligation norms more complex. We examined 300 Australians’ norms concerning parents’ obligations to support adult children financially. Utilizing a quasi-experimental design, we investigated the extent to which respondents agreed that parents should support adult children, and the influence of situational factors. More respondents were in favor of assisting adult children than against, but there was no consensus as to what parents should do. Respondents generally agreed on factors that should be considered, then attempted to balance parental responsibility norms with adult independence norms. Parental help was more strongly endorsed when need was considered legitimate, and when the adult child was younger. Implications for Australian social policy are discussed.
KeywordsSocial norms Parent–child relations Financial support Transition to adulthood Intergenerational support
This research was funded in part by a small grant from the University where the authors are employed.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All the authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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