Book chapters will be unavailable on Saturday 24th August between 8am-12pm BST. This is for essential maintenance which will provide improved performance going forwards. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The purpose of this article is to review, contrast and synthesise several major intellectual streams that have guided theoretical development and empirical research in the area of intergenerational family support to older people: (a) normative-integrative approaches that focus on cohesion between family members based on bonds of solidarity and norms of filial obligation, and (b) transactional approaches that are primarily concerned with identifying motives for resource transfers across generational lines. We propose the concept of moral capital – defined as the stock of internalised social norms that obligate children to care for and support their older parents – the transmission of which lies at the intersection of self-interest (for parents) and altruism (for children). Using data from a multigenerational family study, we present an empirical analysis showing that a strong positive correspondence in the filial obligations of adult children and their older mothers – arguably the result of intergenerational transmission – elevated the supportive behaviour of children. We suggest that moral capital may be a useful unifying concept that bridges disciplinary and theoretical divides in the study of intergenerational transfers to elderly people by helping resolve the paradox of how self-interest and selflessness can co-exist within families.