Aging Parents’ Daily Support Exchanges With Adult Children Suffering Problems

Objectives: When adult children incur life problems (e.g., divorce, job loss, health problems), aging parents generally report providing more frequent support and experiencing poorer well-being. Yet, it is unclear how adult children's problems may influence aging parents' daily support exchanges with these children or the parents' daily mood. Methods:
Aging parents from the Family Exchanges Study Wave 2 (N = 207, Mage = 79.86) reported providing and receiving emotional support, practical support, and advice from each adult child each day for 7 days. Parents also rated daily positive and negative mood. Results:
Multilevel models showed that aging parents were more likely to provide emotional and practical support to adult children incurring life problems than children not suffering problems. Parents were also more likely to receive emotional support and advice from these children with problems. Further, parents reported less negative mood on days when providing practical support to children with problems. Discussion:
Examining daily support exchanges adds to our understanding of how children's problems influence parent-child ties in late life. Prior research suggests that children's problems upset parents. In this study, however, it appears that supporting adult children who suffer problems may alleviate aging parents' distress regarding such children.