Mother-daughter dynamics over the life course

The bond linking mother and daughter is strong across societies. For many, the connection persists for over 50 years. Their dynamic relationships, which are often charcterized by both solidarity and conflicts, evolve over the life course in specific socio-cultural contexts. The objectives of this study are: (1) to identify age-related patterns of solidarity and conflicts in mother-daughter relationships in the US and Japan; and (2) to examine factors which influence the nature of their relationships at successive life stages in different cultural contexts. Data are drawn from a cross-national interview survey of regional probability samples are comparative sites in America and Japan. The analysis was based on a sub-sample of 718 Americans (age 13-76) and 980 Japanese (age 13-75) who had a living mother at the time of interview. Results indicate strikingly similar age-related patterns of mother-daughter relationships in the two countries. Affective solidarity was stable while conflicts decreased over the life course. Daughters sense of autonomy was positively associated with affective solidarity between American mothers and daughters, particularly at later life stages. In contrast, it was negatively associated with mother-daughter solidarity in Japan through the life course. The results are discussed in light of the different family systems and social norms in the two societies. [English Abstract]