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The timing of parental divorce and filial obligations to care for ageing parents

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This article explores how the timing of parental divorce within a child's lifecourse can influence the obligations they feel to care for their parents later in life. The majority of studies have suggested that parental divorce that occurs earlier in a child's life will have the most detrimental effect on their filial obligations. Drawing on life-history interviews with 23 midlife participants in Southampton (UK) we challenge this contention by demonstrating how midlife experiences of parental divorce have weakened adult children's relationships with their parents, and we explore how this may impact on their future willingness to provide care. We also demonstrate how deteriorating marital relations have resulted in some older parents 'living together apart' and becoming socially withdrawn, which has weakened relationships with their midlife adult children who, as a result, expect to feel less willing to care for their parents in the future. These findings are presented within the context of rising divorce rates in older age groups and an informal care gap in the UK.
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Keywords: CAREGIVING; LIFECOURSE; OBLIGATION; PARENTAL DIVORCE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Email: [email protected] 2: Email: [email protected] 3: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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UA-1313315-21
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