Skip to main content Accessibility help

Generational Solidarity in Europe and Israel

  • Ruth Katz (a1), Ariela Lowenstein (a1), Dafna Halperin (a1) and Aviad Tur-Sinai (a1) (a2)


This study explored various dimensions of generational relationships between older parents and their adult children using the second wave of SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe), comparing it to Dykstra’s and Fokkema’s (2011) analyses of the first wave. Results were further compared to the OASIS study (Old Age and Autonomy: The Role of Service Systems and Intergenerational Solidarity). The intergenerational solidarity model served as the main conceptual framework. Analyses yielded four family relationship types present in all countries, albeit with different frequencies. Around half of the respondents in the 11 countries were identified with close ties and flow of support. Four conclusions were drawn: (1) importance of personal resources; (2) cultural differences and meanings for families; (3) highlighting within-country difference; and (4) strength of intergenerational solidarity. The importance of understanding generational relationships in the current era with higher longevity and changing family structures is emphasized and explicated.

Cette étude a exploré différentes dimensions des relations générationnelles entre les parents âgés et leurs enfants adultes, utilisant la deuxième vague de SHARE (Enquête sur la santé, le vieillissement et la retraite en Europe), et a comparée cela aux analyses de Dykstra et Fokkema (2011) de la première vague. Puis on a effectué un autre comparaison avec l'étude OASIS (Vieillesse et l'autonomie: le rôle des systèmes de service et de la Solidarité). Le modèle de la solidarité intergénérationnelle a servi de cadre conceptuel principale. Les analyses ont donné quatre types de relation familiale présentes dans tous les pays, mais avec des fréquences différentes. Environ la moitié des personnes interrogées dans 11 pays ont été identifiés avec des liens intimes et un flux de soutien. Les quatre résultats suivants: (1) l'importance des ressources personnelles; (2) les différences culturelles et les significations pour les familles; (3) soulignant les différences nationales; et (4) la force de la solidarité intergénérationnelle. L'importance de comprendre les relations générationnelles est soulignée et expliquée dans le contexte actuel de la longévité et de la modification des structures familiales.


Corresponding author

La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Dafna Halperin, Ph.D. Max Stern Yezreel Valley College Yezreel Valley 19300, Israel (


Hide All
Attias-Donfut, C., Ogg, J., & Wolff, F. C. (2005). European patterns of intergenerational financial and time transfer. European Journal of Ageing, 2(3), 161173.
Bengtson, V. L., Giarrusso, R., Mabry, J. B., & Silverstein, M., (2002). Solidarity, conflict, and ambivalence: Complementary or competing perspectives on intergenerational relationships? Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(3), 568576.
Bengtson, V. L., Giarrusso, R., Silverstein, M., & Wang, H. (2000). Families and intergenerational relationships in aging societies. Hallym International Journal of Aging, 2(1), 310.
Bengtson, V. L., & Roberts, R. E. L. (1991). Intergenerational solidarity in aging families: An example of formal theory construction. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53(4), 856870.
Bengtson, V. L., & Schrader, S. S. (1982). Parent-child relations. In Mangen, D. & Peterson, W. (Eds.), Handbook of research instruments in social gerontology (Vol. 2). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Biggs, S., & Lowenstein, A. (2011). Generational intelligence: A critical approach to age relations. London: Routledge.
Börsch-Supan, A., Hank, K., & Jürges, H. (2005). A new comprehensive and international view on ageing: Introducing the “Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe”. European Journal of Ageing, 2(4), 245253.
Connidis, I. A. (2001). Family ties and aging. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Connidis, I. A., & McMullin, J. A. (2002). Ambivalence, family ties, and doing sociology. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(3), 594601.
Durkheim, E. (1933). The division of labor in society. G. Simpson, (Trans.). New York: Free Press.
Dykstra, P. A., & Fokkema, T. (2011). Relationships between parents and their adult children: A West European typology of late-life families. Aging and Society, 31(4), 545569.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Oxford, UK: Polity Press.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1997) Hybrid or unique - the Japanese welfare state between Europe and America. Journal of European Social Policy, 7(3), 179189.
Giarrusso, R., Silverstein, M., Gans, D., & Bengtson, V. L. (2005). Ageing parents and adult children: New perspectives on intergenerational relationships. In Johnson, M. L., Bengtson, V. L., Coleman, P. G., & Kirkwood, T. B. L. (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of age and ageing (pp. 413421). London: Cambridge University Press.
Glaser, K., Tomassini, C., & Grundy, E. (2004). Revisiting convergence and divergence: support for older people in Europe. European Journal of Ageing, 1(1), 6472.
Hoff, A., & Tesch-Roemer, C. (2007). Family relations and aging: Substantial changes since the middle of last century? In: Wahl, H.-W., Tesch-Römer, C. & Hoff, A. (Eds.), New dynamics in old age: Individual, environmental and societal perspectives (pp. 6583). Amityville, NY: Baywood.
Katz, R., Daatland, S. O., Lowenstein, A., Bazo, M. T., Ancizu, I., Herlofson, K., et al. (2003). Family norms and preferences in intergenerational relations: A comparative perspective. In Bengtson, V. L. & Lowenstein, A. (Eds.), Global ageing and challenges to families (pp. 305326). New York: Aldine de Gruyther.
Katz, R., & Lowenstein, A. (2003). Elders' quality of life and intergenerational relations: A Cross-national comparison. Hallym International Journal on Aging, 5(2), 131158.
Katz, R., Lowenstein, A., Phillips, J., & Daatland, S. O. (2005). Theorizing intergenerational family relations: Solidarity, conflict and ambivalence in cross-national contexts. In Bengtson, V. L., Acock, A. C., Allen, K. R., Dilworth-Anderson, P., & Klein, D. (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theory and research (pp. 393402). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Kluge, S. (2000). Empirically grounded construction of types and typologies in qualitative social research. Forum qualitative social research, 1(1), Art. 14, January 2000.
Liao, T. F. (1994). Interpreting probability models: Logit, probit, and other generalized linear models. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Lowenstein, A. (2005). Global aging and the challenges to families. In Johnson, M., Bengtson, V. L., Coleman, P. G., & Kirkwood, T. (Eds.), Cambridge handbook on age and aging (pp. 403413). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Lowenstein, A. (2007). Solidarity-conflict and ambivalence: Testing two conceptual frameworks and their impact on quality of life for older family members. The Journals of Gerontology, 62B(2), S100S107.
Lowenstein, A., & Bengtson, V. L. (2003). Challenges of global aging to families in the twenty-first century. In Bengtson, V. L., & Lowenstein, A. (Eds.), Global aging and challenges to families (pp. 371379). Hawthorne, NY: Aldine De Gruyter.
Lowenstein, A., & Daatland, S. O. (2006). Filial norms and family support in a comparative cross-national context: evidence from the OASIS study. Ageing & Society, 26(2), 203223.
Lowenstein, A., & Katz, R. (2010). Family and age in a global perspective. In Dannefer, D., & Phillipson, C. (Eds.), The Sage handbook of social gerontology (pp. 190201). London: Sage.
Lowenstein, A., Katz, R., & Daatland, S. O. (2004). Filial norms and intergenerational support in Europe and Israel: A comparative study. In Silverstein, M. (Ed.), Annual review of gerontology and geriatrics (pp. 200223). New York: Springer.
Lowenstein, A., Katz, R., & Gur-Yaish, N. (2007). Reciprocity in parent-child exchange and life satisfaction among the elderly: A cross-national perspective. Journal of Social Issues, 63(4), 865883.
Lüscher, K. (2004). Conceptualising and uncovering intergenerational ambivalence. In Pillemar, K. & Lüscher, K. (Eds.), Intergenerational ambivalences: New perspectives on parent-child relations in later life (pp. 2362). Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science Ltd.
Lüscher, K., & Pillemer, K. A., (1998). Intergenerational ambivalence: A new approach to the study of parent-child relations in later life. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 413425.
Marshall, V. W., Matthews, S. H., & Rosenthal, C. J. (1993). Elusiveness of family life: A challenge for the sociology of ageing. In Maddox, G. L. & Lawton, M. P. (Eds.), Annual review of gerontology and geriatrics: Focus on kinship, ageing, and social change (pp. 3974). New York: Springer.
Phillips, J., Ogg, J., & Ray, M. (2003). Ambivalence in intergenerational relations. In Lowenstein, A., & Ogg, J. (Eds.), OASIS final report (pp. 193-–226). Haifa, Israel: The University of Haifa.
Pinquart, M., & Sorensen, S. (2000). Influences of socioeconomic status, social network, and competence on subjective well-being in later life: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 15(2), 187224.
Reher, D. S. (1998). Family ties in Western Europe: Persistent contrasts. Population and Development Review, 24(2), 203234.
Roberts, R. E. L., Richards, L. N., & Bengtson, V. L. (1991). Intergenerational solidarity in families: Un-tangling the ties that bind. In Pfeifer, S. K. & Sussman, M. B. (Eds.), Families: Intergenerational and generational connections (pp. 1146). Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.
Rodrigues, R., Huber, M., & Lamura, G. (Eds.) (2012). Facts and figures on healthy ageing and long-term care – Europe and North America. Vienna: European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.
Rossi, A. S., & Rossi, P. H. (1990). Of human bonding: Parent-children relationships across the life course. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Schutz, A., & Luckmann, T. (1974). The structure of the life-world. London: Heinemann.
Silverstein, M., & Bengtson, V. L. (1997). Intergenerational solidarity and the structure of adult child-parent relationships in American families. American Journal of Sociology, 103(2), 429460.
Silverstein, M., Gans, D., Lowenstein, A., Giarrusso, R., & Bengtson, V. L. (2010). Older parents-child relationships in six nations: The intersection of affection and conflict. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(4), 10061021.
Weber, M. (1949/1904). The objectivity of the sociological and social-political knowledge. In, Shils, E. A. & Finch, H. E., (Trans & Eds.), The methodology of the social sciences (pp. 5065). Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
Wolf, D. A., & Ballal, S. S. (2006). Family support for older people in an era of demographic change and policy constraints. Aging and Society, 26(5), 693706.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Generational Solidarity in Europe and Israel

  • Ruth Katz (a1), Ariela Lowenstein (a1), Dafna Halperin (a1) and Aviad Tur-Sinai (a1) (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.