The importance of one’s family in times of need is unquestionable. Young children rely on their parents for proper living conditions, who in turn receive help from their aging parents in raising and caring for their children. There also comes a time when elderly parents themselves require assistance with household tasks or arranging nursing help. The importance of kin relationships sketched here is not limited to exchanges of practical support. The family is also an important source of emotional and social support during all stages of the life-course. Since the family is such an important resource for people during their entire life (Elder, 1974), changes in the make up of contemporary families associated with divorce, postponement of partnership and parenthood, and repartnering may pose risks for the degree to which people can call on their family for support.

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This paper is the outcome of the work performed within EU funded MULTILINKS project and is deliverable 3.1.
Department of Sociology

Puur, A., Sakkeus, L., Schenk, N., & Põldma, A. (2010). Family Constellations in Europe. Retrieved from