“I am not Alone”: Intergenerational Solidarity in Three:Generation Households from the Perspective of the Older Generation


This article focuses on intergenerational solidarity in three-generation households. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with seven members of the oldest generation cohabiting in a three-generation household, the article investigates the aspects, perceptions, and meanings of intergenerational solidarity. The article is based mainly on the theory of intergenerational solidarity presented by Alice S. Rossi and Peter H. Rossi (1990) and Robert E. L. Bengtson and Vern L. Roberts (1991). We are inspired by the classification of solidarity into seven dimensions – associational solidarity, affectual solidarity, consensual solidarity, functional solidarity, normative solidarity, and intergenerational family structure – and observe these dimensions in the context of three-generation co-living. Using a qualitative approach allows us to capture the emic perspective of the interviewees and their perceptions of intergenerational relations and their position within a three-generation household.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Adams, B. N. (1968). Kinship in urban setting. Chicago: Markham Publishing.

  • Aldous, J. (1987). New views on the family life of the elderly and the near elderly. Journal of Marriage and the Family49(2), 227–234.

  • Anderson, T. B. (1984). Widowhood as a life transition: Its impact on kinship ties. Journal of Marriage and the Family46(1), 105–114.

  • Atkinson, M. P., Kivett, V. R., Campbell, R. T. (1986). Intergenerational solidarity: An examination of a theoretical model. Journal of Gerontology41(3), 408–416.

  • Bauman, Z. (2004). Individualizovaná společnost. Praha: Mladá fronta.

  • Beck, U. (2004). Riziková společnost. Praha: Sociologické nakladatelství.

  • Bengtson, V. L., Schrader, S. S. (1982). Parent-Child Relations. In: D. J. Mangen, W. A. Peterson (Eds.), Research Instruments in Social Gerontology. Vol. 2. Social Roles and Social Participation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 115–185.

  • Bengtson, V. L. (1986). Sociological perspectives on aging, families and the future. In: M. Bergner (Ed.), Perspectives on aging: The 1986 Sandoz Lectures in Gerontology, New York/London: Academic Press.

  • Bengtson, V. L. (2001). Beyond the Nuclear Family: The Increasing Importance of Multi-generational Bonds. Journal of Marriage and the Family63(1), 1–16.

  • Bengtson, V. L., Roberts, R. E. L. (1991). Intergenerational Solidarity in Aging Families: An Example of Formal Theory Construction. Journal of Marriage and the Family53(4), 856–870.

  • Bengtson, V. L., Roberts, R. E. L. (1988). Stability and change in value orientation over time: Some implications of an aging society for the family. A paper presented at the annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Atlanta, August 1988.

  • Bengtson, V. L., Burgess, E. O., Parrot, T. M. (1997). Theory, Explanation, and a Third Generation of Theoretical Development in Social Gerontology. Journal of Gerontology52(2), 72–88.

  • Boyatzis, R. (1998). Qualitative Information: Thematic Analysis and Code Development. Sage Publications.

  • Brackbill, Y., Kitch, D. (1991). Intergenerational relationships: A social exchange perspective on joint living arrangements among the elderly and their relatives. Journal of Aging Studies5(1), 77–97.

  • Braun, V., Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology3(2), 77–101.

  • Crimmins, E. M., Ingegneri, D. G. (1990). Interactions between older parents and their children: Past trends, present determinants, future implications. Research on Aging12(1), 3–35.

  • Daatland, S. O., Herlofson, K. (2001). Ageing, intergenerational relations, care systems and quality of life – an introduction to the OASIS project. Norwegian Social Research

  • Finch, J. (1989). Family obligations and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • Giddens, A. (2000). Unikající svět. Praha: Sociologické nakladatelství.

  • Glass, J., Bengtson, V. L., Dunham, C. C. (1986). Attitude similarity in three generation families: Socialization, status inheritance, or reciprocal influence? American Sociological Review51, 685–698.

  • Gray, A. (2005). The Changing Availability of Grandparents as Carers and its Implications for Childcare Policy in the UK. Journal of Social Policy34(4), 557–577.

  • Gubrium, J. F., Holstein, J. A. (1999). Constructionist Perspectives on Aging. In: V. L. Bengtson, K. W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of Theories of Aging. New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc., pp. 287–305.

  • Hagestad, G. O. (1990). Because They’re My Parents: An Intergenerational Study of Felt Obligation and Parental Caregiving. Journal of Marriage and the Family60(3), 611–622.

  • Hamplová, D. (2014). Hlídání vnoučat českými prarodiči v mezinárodním srovnání. Data a výzkum - SDA Info 2014, Vol. 8, No. 1: 25-40. OI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13060/23362391.2014.8.1.111. Praha: Sociologický ústav AV ČR.

  • Hank, K., Buber, I. (2009). Grandparents Caring for their Grandchildren: Findings from the 2004 Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe. Journal of Family Issues, 30(1), 53–73.

  • Hasmanová Marhánková, J. (2009). Proměny prarodičovství v kontextu představ aktiv - ního stárnutí. AUPO FP, Sociologica – Andragogica 11–26.

  • Hasmanová Marhánková, J., Štípková, M. (2014). Typologie prarodičovství v české společnosti – faktory ovlivňující zapojení prarodičů do péče o vnoučata. Naše společnost12(1), 15-26.

  • Ikknik, K. K., Tilburg, T. V., Knipscheer, C. P. (1999). Perceived instrumental support between elderly parents and their adult children: Normative and structural explanations. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 831–844.

  • Jennings, M. K., Niemi, R. G. (1981). Generations and politics: A panel study of young adults and their parents. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

  • Kuchařová, V. (2002). Život ve stáří (Zpráva o výsledcích empirického šetření). Praha: VÚPSV. Karolinum.

  • Kuchařová, V. (2003). Život ve stáří (Zpráva o výsledcích empirického šetření). Praha: VÚPSV. Karolinum.

  • Lee, G. R., Netzer, J. K., Coward, R. T. (1994). Filial responsibility and patterns of inter-generational assistance. Journal of Marriage and the Family56(3), 559–565.

  • Lévi-Strauss, C. (1969). The Elementary Structure of Kinship. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • Lowenstein, A., Katz, R., Prilutzky, D., Mehlhausen-Hassoen, D. (2001). The inter-generational solidarity paradigm. In: S. O. Daatland, K. Herlofson, Ageing, intergenerational relations, care systems and quality of life – an introduction to the OASIS project. Oslo: Norwegian Social Research, NOVA Rapport 14/01.

  • Maříková, H. (2004). “The Czech Family at Present and in the Recent Past.” In: M. Robila (Ed.), Families in Eastern Europe (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Volume 5). Emerald Group Publishing Limited (pp. 29–47).

  • McChesney, K. Y., Bengtson, V. L. (1988). Solidarity, intergenerational relations and cohesion in families: Concept and theories. In: D. L. Mangen, V. L. Bengtson, P. H. Lardy Jr. (Eds.), Measurements of intergenerational relations, Beverly Hills: Sage.

  • Možný, I. (1999). Sociologie rodiny. Praha: Sociologické nakladatelství.

  • Možný, I. (2003). Modernizace české rodiny a mezigeneračních vztahů v mezinárodním srovnání. In: P. Mareš, T. Potočný (Eds.), Modernizace a česká rodina. Brno: Barrister & Principal (pp. 11–36).

  • Možný, I., Přidalová, M., Bánovcová, L. (2003). Mezigenerační solidarita (předběžná zpráva z mezinárodního srovnávacího výzkumu Hodnota dětí a mezigenerační solidarita). Praha: VUPSV [accessed on March 20th, 2012]. Dostupné z: http://praha.vupsv.cz/Fulltext/mezgen.pdf.

  • Možný, I. et al. (2004). Mezigenerační solidarita. Výzkumná zpráva z mezinárodního srovnávacího výzkumu „Hodnota dětí a mezigenerační solidarita“. Praha, Brno, Výzkumný ústav práce a sociálních věcí.

  • Mutran, E., Reitzes, D. C. (1984). Intergenerational support activities and wellbeing among elders: A convergence of exchange and symbolic interaction perspectives. American Sociological Review49, 117–130.

  • Parrot, T. M., Bengtson, V. L. (1999). The Effects of Earlier Intergenerational Affection, Normative Expectations, and Family Conflict on Contemporary Exchanges of Help and Support. Research on Aging21(1), 73–105.

  • Parsons, T. (1991). The social system. 1st ed. Great Britain, Kent: Mackays of Chatham PLC. Preface to the New Edition Bryan S. Turner.

  • Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury Park and London: Sage.

  • Petrová Kafková, M. (2010). Mezigenerační solidarita ve stárnoucí společnosti. Sociální studia, 7(4), 63–84.

  • Popenoe, D. (1993). American family decline, 1960-1990: A review and appraisal. Journal of Marriage and the Family55(3), 527–555.

  • Rajmicová, K. (2003). Dospělé děti a jejich rodiče. Psychologie dnes, 9: 16-17.

  • Richlin-Klonsky, J., Bengtson, V. L. (1996). Pulling together, drifting apart: A longitudinal case study of a four-generation family. Journal of Aging Studies10(4), 255–279.

  • Roberts, R. E. L., Richards, L. N., Bengtson, V. L. (1991). Intergenerational solidarity in families. In: S. P. Pfeifer, M. B. Sussman (Eds.), Families: Intergenerational and generational connections. New York: Haworth Press.

  • Rossi, A. S., Rossi, P. H. (1990). Strong support but uneasy relationships: co-residence and adult children’s relationships with their parents. Journal of Marriage and the Family59, 62–67.

  • Shanas, E., Townshend, P., Wedderburn, D., Friis, H., Milhoj, P., Stehouwer, J. (1968). Old people in three industrial societies. New York: Atherton

  • Silverstein, M., Bengtson, V. L. (1991). Do close parent-child relations reduce the mortality risk of older parents? Journal of Health and Social Behavior32(4), 382–395.

  • Silverstein, M., Marenko, A. (2001). How Americans Enact the Grandparent Role Across the Family Life Course. Journal of Family Issues22(4), 493–522.

  • Smith, T. L. (1983). Parental influence: A review of the evidence of influence and theoretical model of the parental influence process. In: A. Kerkhoff (Ed.), Research in sociology of educational socialization. Vol. 4.

  • Sýkorová, D. (2007). Autonomie ve stáří: kapitoly z gerontosociologie. Praha: Sociologic-ké nakladatelství.

  • Sýkorová, D. (2009). Změna sociologické perspektivy aneb od nukleární rodiny k širší rodině. Sociální studia6(4), 43–54.

  • Vidovićová, L., Rabušic, L. (2003). Senioři a sociální opatření v oblasti stárnutí v pohledu české veřejnosti. Zpráva z empirického výzkumu. Brno: VUPSV.

  • Vohralíková, L., Rabušic, L. (2004). Čeští senioři včera, dnes a zítra. 1. vyd. Praha: Výzkumný ústav práce a sociálních věcí – výzkumné centrum Brno.


Journal + Issues