Taking the Negative with the Positive: Examining the Association between Parent or Child Status Transitions and Parental Ambivalence toward Children

Anna M. Hammersmith, Bowling Green State University

Parents’ and children’s lives are intrinsically connected throughout the life course. Transitions that occur in the child and parent’s lives, whether considered normative or non-normative, may be associated with changes in parents’ perceptions of their relationships with children. For this study, transitions for parents include changes in health, union, or employment while status transitions for children include union, employment, residential, or parenthood transitions. Such parent or child transitions may be associated with how parents feel about their relationships with their children— particularly their feelings of ambivalence. This study uses 2006 and 2010 rounds of the Health and Retirement Study to examine how parent or child status transitions relate to parent’s feelings of ambivalence toward children as well as how these associations vary by gender and race/ethnicity. Findings from this study suggest that children’s transitions, particularly union and residential transitions, are most associated with parent’s feelings of ambivalence toward children.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households