Title page for ETD etd-0410103-164030


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Patterson, Michael J.
Author's Email Address mpatte7@lsu.edu, mpattdu@hotmail.com
URN etd-0410103-164030
Title Who Helps in a Crisis: Differentiating among Adult Children as Sources of Support and Stress for Their Caregiving Mothers
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
J. Jill Suitor Committee Chair
Susan Dumais Committee Member
Yoshinori Kamo Committee Member
Keywords
  • parent-child relations
  • intergenerational relations
  • caregiving
  • stress
  • support
  • relationship quality
Date of Defense 2003-03-14
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This thesis uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative data collected from 134 mothers about their relationships with 381 adult children during the first few months after the mothers began caring for a spouse or older parent. Building on a framework that draws on theories of social structural similarity, I anticipated that adult children who shared more social statuses with their parents would be more likely to be sources of emotional and instrumental support and less likely to be sources of interpersonal stress to their caregiving mothers. Multivariate analyses revealed no effects of structural similarity and few effects of other characteristics of adult children. In fact, the only factor found to be consistently related to children’s likelihood of being a source of support or stress was the number of hours mothers spent providing care. Consistent with expectations, adult children whose mothers spent more hours caregiving were more likely to provide both emotional and instrumental support. Contrary to expectations, adult children were also more likely to be a source of stress to mothers who spent long hours caregiving, apparently because adult children often resented the reduction in their mothers’ availability. These findings contribute to a growing literature demonstrating that one of the costs of status transitions is often change in relationships with network members who feel that the individuals’ role performance has been affected.
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