Intergenerational Solidarity in European Welfare States
Edited by Chiara Saraceno
Chapter 9: Intergenerational Contact and Support: The Long-Term Effects of Marital Instability in Italy
9. Intergenerational contact and support: the long-term eﬀects of marital instability in Italy Marco Albertini and Chiara Saraceno* INTRODUCTION The incidence of marital instability has increased throughout Europe since the mid-1960s, albeit at a diverse pace and with varying intensity in the diﬀerent European countries. The number of adults who experienced the break-up of their parents’ marriage or partnership while growing up has therefore increased. And a growing number of parents – particularly fathers – have had to learn how to maintain meaningful and lasting contact with their children, notwithstanding the fact that they are no longer co-residing with them and in many cases have remarried and formed new families. Parents – particularly fathers – and children have had to ‘create’ new ways of ‘doing family’ at a distance, sometimes also overcoming ongoing conﬂicts between parents. For this reason, we can view the ﬁrst cohorts of separated parents and children as social innovators. A substantial amount of research has been carried out on parent–child relationships in the years immediately subsequent to parental separation and/or divorce. But very few studies have addressed its long-term consequences for intergenerational relationships – when children have become adults and often parents themselves, and parents have become old and often grandparents. The impact of parental break-up on the threegenerational relationship is particularly understudied, both with regard to what happens to the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren after the latter’s parents have separated, and to what happens when the separated/divorced parents become grandparents themselves. Since, in most cases,...
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