Publications

Parental Support of Adult Children and Middle-Aged Couples’ Marital Satisfaction

Background and Objectives:
Middle-aged adults commonly provide support to grown offspring. Yet little is known about how parental support may be related to parents' marital quality at midlife. This study explored couple patterns of support given to adult children and their implications for marital satisfaction. Research

Design and Methods:
In a sample of 197 middle-aged couples from Wave 2 of the Family Exchanges Study, we estimated actor-partner interdependence models to evaluate the links between each spouse's reports of tangible and nontangible support given to adult children and their marital satisfaction.

Results:
Wives and husbands were more satisfied with their marriage when they and their partner gave more frequent nontangible support to adult children. By contrast, wives and husbands were less satisfied with their marriage when they gave more frequent nontangible support to adult children and their partner gave low levels of this support.

Discussion and Implications:
Findings shed light on the conditions under which support given to adult offspring may enhance or undermine marital quality. This study highlights the value of considering both individual and couple-level characteristics of parent-child relationships and their potential consequences for midlife couples.