Intergenerational Solidarity in European Welfare States
Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Chiara Saraceno
Chapter 6: Personal and Household Caregiving from Adult Children to Parents and Social Stratification
6. Personal and household caregiving from adult children to parents and social stratiﬁcation1 Sebastian Sarasa and Sunnee Billingsley INTRODUCTION Research on the social transmission of inequality usually focuses on the impact that parental – ﬁnancial, cultural and social capital – resources have on the life chances of their children. The focus, therefore, has been on what parents can – or cannot – give to their children. Little research exists on how parents’ demands on children’s resources, particularly non-ﬁnancial resources, impact children’s life chances and whether there is a link between these demands and parents’ and children’s position in the social stratiﬁcation system. Moreover, the role gender plays in this relationship is also unknown. Our work furthers this ﬁeld of research by focusing on personal care and household help (henceforth PCHH) given from adult children to their parents when the latter suﬀer poor health or some limitations in completing everyday activities. Many intergenerational studies measure solidarity by summing diﬀerent kinds of social support, such as ﬁnancial transfers, personal care and emotional support. However, combining diﬀerent kinds of social support as a single variable is methodologically problematic (Rossi and Rossi 1990), since intergenerational solidarity has several dimensions, each with its own dialectic and conﬂict between helpers and the people being helped (Bengtson et al. 2002) as well as diﬀerent costs in terms of time and money. PCHH activities are time consuming and it is widely accepted that heavy care burdens, when prolonged over time, have negative consequences for...
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