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Changes in adult children's participation in parent care

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2012

Department of Gerontology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.
Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA.
Address for correspondence: Maximiliane E. Szinovacz, Department of Gerontology, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125-3393, USA. E-mail:


Care-giving research has focused on primary care-givers and relied on cross-sectional data. This approach neglects the dynamic and systemic character of care-giver networks. Our analyses address changes in care-givers and care networks over a two-year period using pooled data from the US Health and Retirement Study, 1992–2000. Based on a matrix of specific adult-child care-givers across two consecutive time-points, we assess changes in any adult-child care-giver and examine the predictors of change. A change in care-giver occurred in about two-fifths of care-giving networks. Ability to provide care based on geographical proximity, availability of alternative care-givers, and gender play primary roles in the stability of care networks. Results underline the need to shift care-giving research toward a dynamic and systemic perspective.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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