Scientific background

Interdependence in adult child-parent relationships

Interdependence in adult child-parent relationships is analyzed regarding mutual support and influence. Influence is discussed as socialization process (influence on the other generation) as well as relative power (influence within the relationship). We assume that interdependence is predicted by relationship quality, individuation as well as by values and attitudes (social norms and felt obligation). In the first phase of the project, we specified a theoretical model of interdependence and its predictors. In order to test and refine this model, a comprehensive questionnaire study was conducted. Questionnaires were administered to adult children between 25 and 50 years and their parents. In total, 647 families (including 492 complete triads of adult child, mother, and father) participated. Of these, 454 families agreed to participate in a further study, which is the subject of the second project phase.

We have three main objectives:

1) The family relationships investigated in 2016/17 shall be compared with relationships in the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow us to go beyond the current situation drawing conclusions about families in times of particular stress.

2) The assumed model shall be tested using cross-lagged panel analyses. This allows, for example, to answer research questions regarding the direction of socializing influences as well as the prediction of intergenerational support. Given the appreciable exchange between generations this is as relevant for individuals as it is for society.

3) The highly differentiated and comprehensive dataset will be made available in a public repository.