Motherhood in the Middle Years

Women and Their Adult Children
  • Vivian Wood
  • Jane Traupmann
  • Julia Hay
Part of the Women in Context: Development and Stresses book series (WICO)


The mother-child relationship may well be the most salient and enduring relationship in human experience, and its importance does not stop when the child reaches adulthood. When Troll (1972) asked adult women and men of a wide age range to describe a person they knew, mothers and fathers were spontaneously referred to more frequently than any other persons. Baruch and Barnett (1983) found in a recent study that midlife women generally have very positive feelings about their mothers, and indeed their sense of well-being was tied to the quality of that relationship. Further, mothers relate to their offspring as adults for a much longer period than they relate to them as children (Goldberg and Deutsch, 1977, p. 317), and the time period during which mother and child relate to each other as adults is increasing. As Hagestad (1981) has pointed out, increased life expectancy is producing longer-term intergenerational bonds and, increasingly, the possibility that parents and children will grow old together. And because women generally outlive their husbands, it is mostly mothers and daughters who grow old together, often one or both having been widowed or divorced.


Good Deal Adult Child Family Development Elder Abuse Adult Daughter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivian Wood
    • 1
  • Jane Traupmann
    • 2
    • 3
  • Julia Hay
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Family Development CenterCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.NatickUSA
  4. 4.Wisconsin Family Studies InstituteMadisonUSA

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