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Sandwich Generation


Most likely as a result of this definitional inconsistency, some controversy exists over the prevalence of a middle generation sandwiched between younger and older family members. Elaine Brody (1985, 1990) suggests that due to increased life expectancy and the need to provide care to aging parents, many middle-aged women will inevitably spend time as women in the middle. Brenda Spillman and Liliana Pezzin (2000) reviewed the 1994 National Long Term Care Survey and found approximately 3.5 million individuals, primarily women, were responsible for both an aging parent and a dependent child. In contrast, other researchers, (Spitze and Logan 1990; Ward and Spitze 1998) consider the sandwich generation phenomenon to be a gerontological myth. Because child care and elder care generally occur sequentially rather than simultaneously, some researchers view the sandwich generation family form as an exception rather than the norm (Loomis and Booth 1995). The majority of empirical studies examining multigenerational caregiving have been conducted using samples that are often small and non-representative. As a result, more nationally representative studies, both in the United States and in other developed countries, are needed to assess the likelihood of families experiencing multigenerational caregiving and the impact these responsibilities may have on family relationships and family functioning.

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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaModern Marriage & Family IssuesSandwich Generation - Definition, Prevalence, International Comparisons, Impact On The Family - Conclusion