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Blood thicker than water?: Emotional closeness between older parents and adult children in stepfamilies
Stockholms universitet.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Criminology, Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0295-898x
2020 (English)In: Journal of Family Studies, ISSN 1322-9400, E-ISSN 1839-3543Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Increasing prevalence of ageing stepfamilies and stepchildren’s potential to act as a source of support for older parents has prompted research about intergenerational cohesion in steprelationships. Our purpose is to investigate emotional closeness in biological and step-relationships in ageing stepfamilies, and the explanations older parents and adult children give to such differences. We study emotional closeness in parent-child relationships among Swedish older parents (aged 66–79) who have raised both biological and stepchildren, and adult children (aged 31–57) who were raised by both biological and stepparents. Qualitative family history interviews (n = 24) including hierarchical maps of long-term family relationships were collected and analyzed. Results show biological relationships to be rated as emotionally closer than step-relationships, by both parents and children. This gap in closeness is explained by the informants in terms of (a) personal characteristics, (b) social circumstances and (c) the importance of blood. Both children and parents use the first two explanations, but there is a clear generational difference concerning the perceived importance of blood. While older parents deemphasize the importance of blood for emotional closeness, adult children emphasize it. The study contributes to ageing stepfamily research by including stepfamily members’ own perspectives on emotional closeness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge , 2020.
Keywords [en]
Ageing stepfamily, older stepparents, adult stepchildren, stepgap, emotional closeness
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-32028DOI: 10.1080/13229400.2020.1735485ISI: 000518512900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85081268423OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-32028DiVA, id: diva2:1413846
Available from: 2020-03-11 Created: 2020-03-11 Last updated: 2020-03-26Bibliographically approved

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Öberg, Peter

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf