Financial reciprocity and elder care: understanding multiple, interdependent resource transfers

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Koh, Sun-Kang
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Maurice M. MacDonald Mary Winter
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Human Development and Family Studies

The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of parent-to-child financial transfers and economic resources on financial transfers, coresidence, caregiving, and time-help as multiple, interdependent transfers from middle-aged adult children to their elderly parents. Analyzing data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which provides long-term observations of financial reciprocity and recent reports about elder care, the current study finds strong positive effects of prior parent-to-child financial transfers in the models of caregiving and time-help, which indicates the importance of reciprocity. Coresidence is positively related to past parent-to-child financial transfers; however, the effect becomes weak when other control variables are added.;In terms of determinants of resource transfers, the results of multivariate logistic regression analyses suggest that the economic resources of parents and adult children are strong determinants of child-to-parent financial resource transfer when parent-to-child financial transfers and the sociodemographic characteristics of parents and adult children are controlled for. Controlling for child-to-parent financial transfers, economic resources of the parents and adult children, and other characteristics of the parents and children, adult children's decisions of coresidence are responsive to the parents' needs (surviving status, age, and health) and several characteristics of adult children (marital status, employment status, and the number of living siblings).;Parent-to-child financial transfers are a strong determinant of caregiving and time-help to elderly parents after controlling for economic resources and sociodemographic characteristics of parents and adult children. Sociodemographic characteristics of parents and respondents were observed as strong determinants of caregiving or time-help. Also, the associations between geographical distance and caregiving or time-help are very strong.;The findings of the multivariate analyses support the claim that coresidence complements child-to-parent financial transfers, caregiving, and time-help when other sociodemographic characteristics and economic resource variables are controlled. Interdependence between child-to-parent financial transfers and caregiving or time-help was not found to be statistically significant when controlling for other predictor variables. Finally, caregiving and time-help are positively related: respondents who provide care for their parents are more likely to give time-help than those who do not.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2002