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Yang, "Filial expectations and social exchange patterns among older Taiwanese parents and their adult children," 2004

USC Dissertation in Sociology.
August 24, 2009

Frances M. Yang, Ph.D.

Abstract (Summary)
Taiwan is at the forefront of modernization in Asian countries that adhere to Confucian values and teachings. The interplay of modern and traditional forces gives rise to different patterns of intergenerational social support exchanges. This study examines how elderly perceptions of filial norms and other motivations affect intergenerational social support between older adults and their adult children in Taiwan. A total of 9,477 dyads are formed for this analysis by matching the responses from a nationally representative sample of older Taiwanese individuals (N = 2,763), who are 65 years and older, to each of their coresident and noncoresident children.

Four types of transfers emerge, based upon latent class cluster analysis: emotional and instrumental upward transfer, no upward transfer, economic upward transfer, and full upward transfer. These transfers were then used as the dependent variable, with each class being compared to the no upward transfer class. The predictors for the types of transfers used in this analysis were the following four domains of motivations: need, exchange, resources of power, and ideology.

Results from the multinomial logistic regression show that under the need domain, older parents who are unhealthy are likely receivers of economic support. Older parents who have economic power, which includes control over property, economic decisions, and a primary income, will likely receive emotional and instrumental transfers rather than no transfers at all. The main model of interest is the filial norms model under the ideology domain, which shows that older adults with higher levels of normative expectations are more prone to receive instrumental and economic transfers from their children. The blending of modernization and traditional Confucian values are occurring in Taiwan, as older adults who hold both more economic power and higher filial expectations are receivers of emotional and instrumental support.

Advisor: Silverstein, Merril