Lessons learned from 11 countries on programs promoting intergenerational solidarity

Cheryl Zlotnick, Marjolein Broese van Groenou, Annamaria Orban, Trudy Corrigan, Susana Coimbra, Zviad Kirtava, Clare Holdsworth, Dolors Comas-d'Argemir, Laura Aliprant, Carole Gadet, George Pavia

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Abstract

Objective: The goal of this project was to develop a systematic framework through which interventions promoting intergenerational solidarity in 11 countries could be assessed. Background: Although intergenerational solidarity—the exchange of material, social, and emotional support and care between family generations—benefits both the country's economic well-being (macro-level) and the individual's physical, mental, and social well-being (micro-level), decreasing intergenerational solidarity is evident in many industrialized countries. Interventions promoting intergenerational solidarity are increasingly being developed, but few are described in the literature. Moreover, no unifying framework describing them exists. Method: Representatives from 11 countries convened to identify interventions promoting intergenerational solidarity. After several meetings, a unifying framework was created. Representatives selected a convenience sample of programs and abstracted information based on the framework. Results: The outcome of social well-being was virtually ubiquitous in most programs. Countries appeared to take a broad view of intergenerational solidarity, focusing on interactions among generations, rather than interactions within families. Discussion and Implications: The framework enabled the systematic abstraction and assessment of programs. Most programs had no standard method of evaluating their outcomes. Longitudinal evaluations would be optimal if we want to identify the best practices in intergenerational solidarity programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-681
Number of pages24
JournalFamily Relations
Volume70
Issue number2
Early online date2 Sept 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Funding

Descriptions of formal rigorous evaluation of the programs' short‐, medium‐, or long‐term outcomes were rare. Some programs linked to universities were funded by research, and so evaluation was conducted as part of a study. Other programs used surveys for evaluation. Many programs indicated that the generations involved benefited, but there were no specifics reported. In general, descriptions of program fidelity and systematic evaluation were lacking. The project described in this article was funded by the European Union COST (Cooperation in Science and Technology) grant no. IS1311. COST Action IS1311 “Intergenerational Family Solidarity Across Europe (INTERFASOL)” was funded under the aegis of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST; European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research—COST, 2013), the grant (principal investigator: Anne Marie Fontaine; co–principal investigator: Clare Holdsworth). As part of the COST format, a maximum of two representatives from each member, cooperating, or near-neighbor state were invited to participate.

FundersFunder number
Cooperation in Science and TechnologyIS1311
European Union COST
European Cooperation in Science and Technology

    Keywords

    • country comparisons
    • culture
    • intergenerational solidarity
    • interventions
    • well-being

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