Intergenerational solidarity: An attachment perspective

E.M. Merz, C. Schuengel, H. Schulze

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The concept of intergenerational solidarity between parents and children has been addressed within sociology using an increasing number of dimensions, some overlapping with phenomena studied in attachment theoretical research within psychology. Attachment theory is an important candidate for cross-disciplinary research into intergenerational solidarity, because it identifies causal processes within individuals as well as relationships. Due to its developmental nature the attachment theory is also highly relevant to life-cycle issues surrounding intergenerational solidarity. In this theoretical review, the basic dimensions which attachment theory uses to describe relationships are articulated with reference to pertinent issues under the rubric of intergenerational solidarity. Examples are provided to illustrate how at the cross-section of psychology and sociology these dimensions (direction, quality, and penetration) can be used for answering questions (patterns of exchange, tensions, ambivalence) about relationships between adult children and aging parents. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-186
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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