Intergenerational relationships and transfers between generations

The multigenerational design of pairfam includes not only anchor respondents, but as of the second wave also their (step)parents as well as a focus child living with the anchor respondent. In this way, the arrangement and development of various intergenerational relationships in families (e.g. parent-child, or grandparent-grandchild) can be conprehensively described and explained over time. The main focus - following the "solidarity conflict" model of Bengston et al. - is the relationship quality between generations, their various transfers, and transmission processes. The most important survey modules refer to: 

  • Distance between residence
  • Contact and joint activities
  • Relationship quality
  • Material and immaterial transfers, including gifts and inheritances
  • Sociodemographics of each generation

Instruments and Survey Design

The development of both valid survey instruments for the analysis of intergenerational rela-tionships and a survey design has been undertaken within the framework of the DFG Priority Programme 1161. This pre-study falls back on existing concepts, theoretical considerations, and empirical studies within the field of intergenerational relations research. Special attention has been paid to the weaknesses of these approaches in order to remedy them within the pairfam data.

For annual use, a core set of tools has been developed which covers the central aspects of relationships between juveniles, young adults and their parents. For the first time, this has been applied during the interviewing of anchor persons in the first pairfam wave (2008/09) and is meant to be used in this form in each further wave. However, the survey instruments (all dimensions) and the survey design (besides anchor persons also their parents or stepparents, partners, and a child are surveyed) are only fully applied in the second wave (2009/10). For the further course of the pairfam study, the core module of the subject area ‘intergenerational relationships’ is conducted annually, while its diverse and complex aspects are planned to be applied in a two-yearly rhythm (every second wave).

Exemplary publications with pairfam data

Hank, Karsten und Anja Steinbach. 2018. Intergenerational solidarity and intergenerational relations between adult siblings. Social Science Research 76: 55-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.08.003

Hank, Karsten, Veronika Salzburger und Merril Silverstein. 2017. Intergenerational transmission of parent-child relationship quality: Evidence from a multi-actor survey. Social Science Research 67: 129-137. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2017.06.004

Tanskanen, Antti O.. 2017. Intergenerational relations before and after offspring arrive: A within-person investigation. Social Science Resarch 67: 138-146. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2017.08.001

Hank, Karsten and Veronika Salzburger. 2015. Gay and lesbian adults' relationship to parents in Germany. Journal of Marriage and Family 77: 866-876.

Arránz Becker, Oliver, Veronika Salzburger, Nadia Lois and Bernard Nauck. 2013. What narrows the stepgap? Closeness between parents and adult (setp)children in Germany. Journal of Marriage and Family 75: 1130-1148.

Klaus, Daniela, Bernard Nauck and Anja Steinbach. 2012. Relationships to stepfathers and biological fathers in adulthood: Complementary, substitutional, or neglected? Advances in Life Course Research 17: 156-167.