We challenge the common idea that solidarity has positive, whereas conflict has negative implications, by investigating intergenerational ambivalence – defined as the co-occurrence of solidarity and conflict – and relationship quality. We use representative data on non-coresident adult children and parents with high levels of contact (weekly or more; N=2,694 dyads). Results show that over half of high contact parent–child ties can be characterized as ambivalent and of high-quality. The likelihood of negative instead of positive ambivalent ties is greater if adult children have few exit options because they are socially isolated or have a small number of siblings. Ties between fathers and sons, and those between caring daughters and aging parents also have a high probability of belonging to the negative ambivalent type.

Ambivalence, Latent class analysis, Relationship quality, Typology of parent-child relationships
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2008.10.006, hdl.handle.net/1765/17222
Journal of Aging Studies
Published ahead of print, online in September 2009
Department of Sociology

van Gaalen, R.I, Dykstra, P.A, & Komter, A.E. (2009). Where is the exit? Intergenerational ambivalence and relationship quality in high contact ties. Journal of Aging Studies, 24(2), 105–114. doi:10.1016/j.jaging.2008.10.006