Relationship Quality with Adult Children: Gender and Cognitive Limitations Among Older Adults
Methods: Using nationally representative panel data from the Americans’ Changing Lives survey (N=1,408), we analyzed the impact of both positive and negative dimensions of adult child-parent relationship quality on trajectories of older parents’ cognitive limitations as they aged.
Results: Higher levels of strain with adult children were linked to steeper increases in cognitive limitations as mothers aged, but relationship strain with adult children appeared to be protective against cognitive decline for fathers.
Discussion: Older women are already at greater risk for cognitive limitations than men, and relationship strain with adult children may exacerbate cognitive decline for women. These findings point to the importance of taking gender into account when studying how positive and negative aspects of close social relationships affect older adults.