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Session Overview
RN13_02c: Intergenerational relationships and kinship networks I
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Gražina Rapolienė, Lithuanian Social Research Centre
Session Chair: Helen Norman, University of Manchester
Location: UP.2.220
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road

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Design and Validation of a Family Social Capital Scale

Rita Cavallotti, Francesco Marcaletti

Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Spain

The aim of the paper is to present the validation of a primary social capital scale, that is the social capital produced by/through interpersonal relationships within family members, as defined according to the sociological relational paradigm (Donati and Prandini 2007). The scale consists of three dimensions defining family social capital, that is ‘trust’ (6 items, 1 to 5 Likert scale), ‘collaboration’ (5 items), and ‘supporting each other’ (6 items).

The validation of the scale consisted of an exploratory factor analysis (EFA), reliability test of its outcomes, and a subsequent confirmatory structural equation model (SEM). Data were collected through a survey on a national quota sample of Spanish older parents (65-74-years-old). Three factors emerged with eigenvalues greater than one (Keiser criterion), which accounted for 62.03% of the variance in the sample. The first factor grouped items that related to mutual support, both material and moral, and trust. Therefore, it was called ‘Supporting behaviours’. The second factor grouped items that related to doing things together and was referred to as ‘Unity’. Finally, the third factor grouped three items that concerned malfunctions of the primary social capital itself, expressing what the literature calls ambivalence (Lüscher and Pillemer 1998; Bengtson et al. 2002; Nauck 2014). It was therefore called ‘Mistrust and discomfort’. Findings demonstrate that ‘Supporting behaviours’ and ‘Unity’ are positively related, while ‘Mistrust and discomfort’ is negatively related with both. Moreover, findings suggest that the scale can be a valid tool in order to analyse primary social capital; nonetheless, improvements can be achieved.

Predictors of Family Social Capital in Old Age: The Role of Network Stability, Life Events and Self-Rated Health

Julia Sauter

NCCR LIVES, University of Geneva, Switzerland

During the final stages in life, family becomes an increasingly important source of support in older adults’ lives. In this study, we are particularly interested in the emotional support, that we qualify as “social capital” that older adults give and receive within their family configurations. Although older adults’ family networks tend to shrink over time, it is not yet clear if this phenomenon is explained by internal or by external factors. Therefore, our aim is to investigate to which extent social capital stays stable over time and how it is increased or decreased by network stability, family and health related life events, as well as self-rated health. To answer this research puzzle, we use the two measure points of the CIGEV-LIVES Vivre-Leben-Vivere study, an ongoing study on the health and life conditions of older adults living in Switzerland. We use data on life events during old age as well as on family configurations. We found that stable networks were key to have higher levels of available family social capital. Moreover, the density and the reciprocity within the family networks were also impacted by deaths within the family and the experience of a fall. However, self-rated health was not significantly explaining levels of social capital. Overall, our study demonstrates that a stable family network over time has a protective role against declining social capital in old age, even when facing critical life events.

The Present and the Future of the Family: an Italian Research Study

Morena Tartari1, Manuela Scioni2, Mario Bolzan2

1FISPPA Department, University of Padova, Italy; 2Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy

This paper is based on a research study that investigates some future-oriented scenarios for the family in Italy in ten years through the point of view of family experts and stakeholders (e.g., policy makers, politicians, family psychotherapists, social workers, and educators). The first stage of the study concerned the selection of some key social issues for the future of the family through seven focus groups that involved forty-five experts and stakeholders. The second stage involved thirty-two experts in a Delphi method (conducted in four subsequent calls) that investigated those specific social issues (e.g., work-family balance, intergenerational relationships and communication, intergenerational solidarity, kinship networks, housing, policies and services for the family).

At a statistical level, the analysis of performance’s indicators on the process of convergence - applied to the results of the Delphi - shows a very satisfactory quality for almost all the items. At a substantive level, the Delphi survey points out the evolution and the relevance of these specific issues in ten years. Findings highlight some configurations of evolution and relevance with regard to these family social issues and offer future-oriented scenarios that are interpreted through a social statistical and a sociological approach.

This paper focuses on some findings of the focus groups’ stage. In particular, the paper deepens the evolution and the relevance in ten years of specific issues concerning the intergenerational relationships and communication, the intergenerational solidarity, and the kinship networks. These findings are discussed and compared to the Delphi method results and the recent sociological literature on the family and its future.

Where are Lives Linked? A Bibliometrical Analysis of the Linked Lives Principle in the Social Sciences Literature

Diana Carvalho, Magda Nico, Helena Carvalho

CIES-IUL /ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal

Linked Lives is one of the most appraised but underexplored life course principles. It argues that “each generation is bound to fateful decisions and events in the other's life course”. It gives centrality to social relations and networks, including kin, and so it concerns, the complexity of the relationships within families and households by referring how the lives of their members are linked through events (turning, critical, demographic), trajectories (in the various spheres of life) or social characteristics (education, occupation, class, etc.). This concept has reached the status of theoretical principle (particularly true in the scope of the Life Course Literature) or of a scientific self-evident premise (implicit, for instance, in models that tackle the effects of life events and statuses). It is thus used as a general premise but not as a research hypothesis.

We take a step back, by providing a big picture on how the links of lives within families have been studied in social research. For that purpose, the team of the Project “Linked Lives: a mixed multilevel longitudinal approach to family life course” carried out a bibliometric analysis. An effort towards the census of the publications concerning “linked lives” was made through various bibliographical sources. These were coded (by type of publication, author's institutional nationality, geographic scope, type of events, generational direction of the link, spheres of life, methodology, etc.) and organized in statistical software, where univariate, bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify and characterize the stages and variations of this concept in the sociological and life course literature. We additionally reflect on how it has been contributing to understanding family and intergenerational relations and interdependence.

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