Demographic Correlates, Social Relations, and Norms ...



Title Demographic Correlates, Social Relations, and Norms as Determinants of Availability of Adult Children as Potential, Instrumental, and Basic-and-Instrumental Care Providers
Author(s) Judy-Lynn Richards
Date 2005
Place published U Western Ontario, United States
Abstract This dissertation provides a model of complementarity to address the issue of assessing the availability of adult children for parent care. The macro-oriented research indicates the importance of identifying potential care providers, while the micro-oriented research emphasizes the types of actual caregivers, the types of care they provide, and whether or not their social characteristics impact on their being classified as certain types of care providers. Here, consideration of the influences of four social characteristics (gender, employment status, age, and sibling network size) re-frames the problem of assessing the availability of adult children (as potential, instrumental, and basic-and-instrumental care providers) as one of social circumstances and positioning, as well as one of demographic trends. The structural perspective adopted here draws attention to the impact of the complex arrangements of social relations, based on gender and employment status, and age-based norms oil the availability of adult children. This perspective extends the boundaries of parent care to be much more than simply a set of caregiver tasks. The main argument is that adult children are influenced by many social interactions, especially those in accordance with their group memberships, in various socially defined contexts or boundaries, It is within these broader social boundaries that the differential availabilities of adult children to provide parent care are considered. Doing so focuses the investigation on the power dynamics that can influence availability for providing care, including specific types of care. Classifying the care providers into three groups of potential, instrumental, and basic-and-instrumental care providers was guided by the development of a continuum of care that accounts for everyday interchanges of care, and a combination of instrumental and basic care. Thus, a methodological contribution of this study is to advance previous depictions of the care continuum that have focused separately on instrumental and basic care. The findings bear evidence to the advantages of conceptualizing availability and parent care as multidimensional. The social characteristics of adult children are important determinants of being classified as a potential or actual care provider, and as an instrumental or basic-and-instrumental care provider. The complexities of the relationships among the social characteristics (gender, employment status, age, and sibling network size) are clearly brought to light by tile analysis. The results confirm the effectiveness of assuming a sociological approach that focuses on the constraints and resources of adult children to assess their availability for different types of parent care. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).

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