How demographic patterns and social policies shape interdependence among lives in the family realm
Our starting point is that a social psychological approach dominates the literature on interdependent or “linked” lives (Elder, 1994). We argue that interdependence is not only social-psychological, but is also structured on a macro-level. More specifically, we illustrate ways in which demographic change, such as increased co-longevity, creates different opportunities for interdependence for men and women. In addition, we draw attention to the role of national policies, distinguishing ways in which legislation mandates generational interdependence (e.g., legal obligations to provide financial support), blocks generational interdependence (e.g., grandparents not granted the right to raise grandchildren when parents cannot provide adequate care; migration laws not granting temporary visits to enable the provision of care), generates generational interdependence (e.g., daddy quota), and lightens generational interdependence (e.g., less reliance on grandparental care in Northern and Western Europe due to public support to parents of young children). We pay specific attention to childless men and women, questioning the primacy assigned to kinship ties in health care and long-term support policies. Gender receives consistent consideration throughout the paper.
Dykstra, Pearl A