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The impact of an older adult parent on communicative satisfaction and dyadic adjustment in the long-term marital relationship: adult-children and spouses' retrospective accounts

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This research examined adult-children and their spouses' (N = 15 dyads) self-reports of communicative behaviors in the long-term marital relationship when caring for an older adult parent in their home and long-term married couples (N = 34 dyads) not caring for a parent. A quasi-experimental retrospective design was implemented to determine the effect of an older adult parent on the relational change of the adult marital dyad. Results of a mixed model ANOVA revealed a significant 2-way interaction effect in a negative direction regarding communicative satisfaction for long-term married couples after a parent has moved into the adult-child home with no other substantial or significant findings. An analysis of the means indicated that the interaction effect is a function of the fact that having a parent present slightly decreases marital satisfaction, whereas when the parent is not present satisfaction increases. Implications of the results for the study of caring for an older adult parent in the adult-child and spouse long-term marital relationship are discussed, and future applications of the life span developmental perspective are suggested

Keywords: Intergenerational; aging; communicative satisfaction; consensus; dyadic adjustment; dyadic satisfaction; family caregiving; health communication; interpersonal; marriage; older adult; relationships; triad

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Communication, George Mason University

Publication date: May 1, 2002


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