“My nest is full:” Intergenerational relationships at midlife

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  • Incorporating a life course perspective, this qualitative study used focus groups to explore the experiences of midlife adults who were simultaneously providing support to emerging adult children and aging parents. Results indicated that adults situated in middle generations held beliefs that endorsed family-based responsibility to both younger and older members. Parents gladly supported children despite their longer transition to adulthood. Often unanticipated but accepted, provisions of care to aging parents were experienced with ambivalence – a joy and a burden. The transition of their parents to greater dependence helped participants gain insights into the terrain of late life and encouraged reflections about the intersection of aging, independence, and family responsibility. Participants expressed intentions to preserve their own independence and spare children of caregiving burdens through self-directed actions. Implications focused on negotiations of family relationships around issues of independence and family responsibilities as a way to reduce intergenerational ambivalence.
  • KEYWORDS: caregiving, intergenerational relationships, midlife, ambivalence, life course
  • This is the authors' final peer-reviewed manuscript as accepted by the publisher. The published version is copyrighted by Elsevier and can be found at
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  • Igarashi, H., Hooker, K., Coehlo, D. P., & Manoogian, M. M. (2013). "My nest is full:" intergenerational relationships at midlife. Journal of Aging Studies, 27(2), 102-112. doi:10.1016/j.jaging.2012.12.004
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  • 27
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  • 2
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