Does Child Gender Predict Older Parents’ Well-Being?
Inconsistencies in comparisons of older parents’ well-being with that of older, childless adults may be resolved by considering the separate effects of sons and daughters on parents. The hypothesis was that older parents of only daughters have greater life satisfaction, more satisfying relations with their children, more intimate family relations, and greater social support satisfaction compared to older childless adults and parents of only sons. Childless older adults were predicted to have more intimate friends. The effect of having both sons and daughters was also explored. Longitudinal results indicated parents had greater life satisfaction than childless adults, and parents of daughters were more satisfied with relations with their children than parents of only sons. Childless adults had more relations with friends and fewer family intimate relations. Neither social support satisfaction or affect varied across groups. The findings are related to gender socialization, social support, and normative expectations.
KeywordsOlder parents Well-being Child gender effects
This research was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to D.P., J.C., M.C., J.E., C.G., K. L., C.W.
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