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Perceptions of Equity, Balance of Support Exchange, and Mother-Adult Child Relations.

Authors
  • Sechrist, Jori1
  • Suitor, J Jill2
  • Howard, Abigail R2
  • Pillemer, Karl3
  • 1 Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas-Pan American, 1201 W. University Dr., Edinburg, TX 78539 ( [email protected] ).
  • 2 Department of Sociology, Purdue University, 700 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907.
  • 3 Department of Human Development, Cornell University, 185 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of marriage and the family
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2014
Volume
76
Issue
2
Pages
285–299
Identifiers
PMID: 24683270
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Equity theory suggests that relationships are more harmonious when both members of a dyad believe that their exchanges are fair. However, the level and frequency of exchange, rather than perceptions of equity, have been the focus of most research on support and the quality of intergenerational relations. Using data from 1,426 mother-child dyads nested within 413 families collected as part of the Within-Family Differences Study, the authors explored whether mothers' perceptions of equity are better predictors of closeness and tension than are mothers' reports of balanced exchanges of support. Mixed-model analyses revealed that mothers' perceptions of equity were more consistent predictors of relationship quality than were the balanced exchanges of support, though the results varied somewhat by gender of adult child. These findings contribute to a growing body of research demonstrating that the psychological processes that shape intergenerational relationships mirror those of other ties.

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