Ambivalent relationship qualities between adults and their parents: Implications for the well-being of both parties

Karen L. Fingerman, Lindsay Pitzer, Eva S. Lefkowitz, Kira S. Birditt, Daniel Mroczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study considered whether intergenerational ambivalence has implications for each party's psychological well-being and physical health. Participants included 158 families (N = 474) with a mother, a father, and a son or daughter aged 22 to 49 years. Actor-partner interaction models revealed that parents and offspring who selfreported greater ambivalence showed poorer psychological well-being. Partner reports of ambivalence were associated with poorer physical health. When fathers reported greater ambivalence, offspring reported poorer physical health. When grown children reported greater ambivalence, mothers reported poorer physical health. Fathers and offspring who scored lower in neuroticism showed stronger associations between ambivalence and well-being. Findings suggest that parents or offspring may experience greater ambivalence when the other party is in poorer health and that personality moderates associations between relationship qualities and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P362-P371
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume63
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • Ambivalence
  • Children
  • Family
  • Intergenerational relationships
  • Parents
  • Relationship quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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