Publications

Typology of parent-child ties within families: Associations with psychological well-being.

Middle-aged adults often have relationships with multiple family members (e.g., children and parents). The constellation of parent-child relationships within families may have implications for individuals' psychological well-being. This study created typologies of parent-child ties by combining multiple dimensions of relationships and examined the extent to which middle-aged adults showed variability across typologies of parent-child ties within multigenerational families. Using 2,252 parent-child ties across three generations from 633 middle-aged adults, this study identified typologies of parent-child ties based on 5 indicators (i.e., contact, downward and upward support, and positive and negative relationship qualities), and examined the associations of specific typologies of parent-child ties as well as within-family variability in typologies with middle-aged adults' psychological well-being. This study found 7 types of parent-child ties as distinct combinations of contact, support exchanges, and relationship quality. Within-family variability in these types was associated with more depressive symptoms, and having types characterized by conflicted ties was associated with more depressive symptoms and lower life satisfaction. Middle-aged adults seem to be happiest when they are able to maintain homogeneous, harmonious patterns of relationships with their parents and grown children. Findings were discussed with regard to factors that also may predict greater variability in family relationship patterns.