Intergenerational Relationships Between Adolescents and Their Grandparents in Japan

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Room: 511
Kuniko KATO , Faculty of Child Studies, Utsunomiya Kyowa University, Utsunomiya, Japan
Intergenerational bonds among family members may be more important today than in earlier decades, because the individuals today live longer and share more years and experiences with members of other generations (Bengtson, 2001). A decline in birth rates and population aging have been recognized since 1989 as a major social problem in Japan. The main objective of this study is to examine how adolescents’ perception of the relationships with their grandparents is associated with the frequency of communication with their grandparents, parents and friends in Japan. Further, I describe differences between face-to-face and ICT communication.

In order to accomplish the above objectives, I collected survey data from Japanese college students in 2011-2013. These data were collected in the government-funded project entitled, “The Process model of building the intergenerational relationships in child care and examining the model.” The data include 198 Japanese college students aged 20 to 21. The questionnaire included questions concerning their perceptions of the relationships with their grandparents and ICT communication with their parents, grandparents, friends along with demographic information. A multiple regression analysis was used.

The adolescents are likely to have greater satisfaction of the perception of relationships with their grandparents. In addition, having overly burden of the relationships with their grandparents are associated with little conversation between the adolescents and their fathers. Their higher commitment to their grandparents is related to their increasing the communication with older persons by e-mail and face-to-face communication.

Based on my findings, I suggest that Japanese society needs to consider the ways to facilitate communication between adolescents and their grandparents in order to build intergenerational relationships. It is also important to promote the positive effect of the perception of relationships between adolescents and their grandparents on influence processes within the grandparent-parent-grandchild triad in Japan.