Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Intergenerational Familial Relationships from the Lens of Generativity

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Intergenerational Familial Relationships from the Lens of Generativity

Article excerpt

It has been well established by research done in the past, that, the inter-play between various micro and macro systems of a family, significantly influence the level of subjective well-being of its members. Therefore, an individual's familial relationships hold significant importance in determining his/ her level of satisfaction and quality of life. The quality of these relationships is influenced by various subjective and interpersonal factors, interpretation of most of which, however, have now been modified owing to the globalisation and urbanisation, i.e., the factors influencing the relationship dynamics in earlier times, where Indian family system had immense belief in its longstanding tradition of joint family systems, had different interpretations as compared to the present scenario, where the emergence of modified extended versions have placed the Indian family system on a continuum with modernity and tradition being on its extreme ends. For instance, at present convenience is the new priority, even when geographical proximity or occupational involvement has to take a back seat, unlike the earlier times, nonetheless, provision of maximum possible support in childcare, household chores, elder care, financial, social matters, family visits, celebrations, etc. is attempted (Chadha, 2013). Similarly, the senior generations do not enjoy the exclusive hierarchal authority structure and decision-making powers as they used to command earlier, as decisions now are expected and preferred to be taken by discussion and agreement with everyone. Further, increase in life expectancy, has facilitated longevity of family members on one hand but on the other hand decreasing fertility rates has caused the number of family members per generation to decrease, as a result the quantity and quality of support provided to each other has deteriorated oratleastis strained consistently, thereby giving birth to more complex influencing factors. Other than these factors, higher aspirations, rising personal and family demands, etc. motivates young generations to migrate away, sometimes with or without their family members, in search for better living, educational or career opportunities, as a result racial and ethnic diversity occurs, also, dual career families, where both genders share the professional and family roles, are on the rise. Hence, due to all these factors, considerable influence on the interpersonal dynamics between respective generations is observed.

Different theoretical perspectives have attempted conceptualisation of this interplay, and have also succeeded to some extent, but unlike progress in the political arena in terms of intergenerational programs, activities or policies or by institutions like United Nations, who is promoting the importance of intergenerational relationships, with an aim to form: "a society of all ages". European Union, who named the year 2012 as the year of "Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations" (Jarrott, 2011; Villar & Serrat, 2014) it has been observed that similar efforts on the academic front, to give a shape to the field, are lagging (VanderVen, 2011; Villar, 2014). Therefore, the rapidly changing dynamics, have raised the need for more sophisticatedly oriented theoretical approaches for understanding all the underlying phenomena.

Intergenerational theoretical perspectives

The intergenerational solidarity and conflict theory: The theory of Intergenerational Solidarity, has been one of the major contributors for understanding the dynamics of intergenerational relationships (Bengtson & Roberts, 1991; Bengtson, 2001). It defines the aspects of interpersonal exchange in terms of support and contact behavior between generations. Solidarity can be defined as an intentional and cohesive connections or bonding between two or more individuals, belonging to different age cohorts (Cruz-Saco, 2010). Both association between members of a family and/or members from a community is considered (Benston & Oyama, 2007). …

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