Affection and Conflict in Intergenerational Relationships of Women in Sixteen Areas in Asia, Africa, Europe, and America


  • Bernhard Nauck Department of Sociology, Technische Universitaet Chemnitz



Intergenerational relationships, Emotional closeness, Conflict, Solidarity, Cross-cultural


Studies of intergenerational solidarity in affluent societies suggest that relationships between generations consist simultaneously of both emotional closeness and conflicts. This analysis extends the standard model of intergenerational relationships, which until now has been applied only to countries with bilineal kinship systems, to culturally and economically diverse areas with varying kinship systems. Latent class analysis was applied to measure affection and conflict in the ongoing relationships of young and middle-aged women with their mothers (7,522 relationship pairs) and fathers (5,338 relationship pairs). The empirical analysis was based on standardised oral interviews with mothers from areas in China, Indonesia, North and South India, South Africa, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Estonia, Poland, East and West Germany, France, Jamaica, and the United States (n = 8,756). The best fitting model of relationship differences consisted of four latent classes: „amicable“ (45 percent), “detached“ (28 percent), “ambivalent” (22 percent), and “disharmonious“ (5 percent). Based on a cross-culturally largely invariant measurement model, results revealed significantly different distributions for fathers and mothers and across areas. Multinomial three-level regression analysis was used to analyse the complex cross-level interdependence of area effects, individual characteristics, and the respective relationship on class membership. In patrilineal societies, relationships of women with their biological parents are more likely to be ambivalent, less likely to be detached, and very likely to become disharmonious in case of spatial proximity. In affluent societies, the relationships are less likely to be disharmonious and most likely to be harmonious. Whereas the frequency of contact decreases the likelihood of detached or disharmonious relationships in affluent societies, functional exchange with the parents increases the likelihood of disharmonious relationships.




How to Cite

Nauck, B. 2014. Affection and Conflict in Intergenerational Relationships of Women in Sixteen Areas in Asia, Africa, Europe, and America. Comparative Population Studies. 39, 4 (Oct. 2014). DOI:



Research Articles