Social Class and The Locus of Reciprocity in Relationships With Adult Children

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29 Scopus citations


This study examines the relationship between patterns of reciprocal and asymmetrical intergenerational aid and the parent's rating of the quality of their relationships with adult children, posing two questions: Is there an identifiable pattern of specific substantive exchanges that contributes most to high relationship ratings? And is this distinctive locus of reciprocity different in blue-collar and white-collar families? Using a large, representative sample of U.S. parents with adult children, we examine these issues by testing competing models of reciprocal and asymmetrical exchanges between parent and child. Findings indicate that white-collar families are somewhat more involved in all types of exchanges, including instrumental assistance, and that the link between reciprocity and positive relationship ratings is stronger in these families than among blue-collar families. Asymmetrical instrumental assistance from parent to child is associated with lower ratings among blue-collar families, and financial assistance from parent to child appears to lower relationship ratings in white-collar families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-504
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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