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Sandwich Generation

Impact On The Family

Research investigating the effect of multigenerational caregiving on family relationships and family functioning is limited. Laura Loomis and Alan Booth (1995) looked at a national sample of middle-aged married persons to document the effect of multiple caregiving responsibilities on individual caregivers. The authors found that multi-generational caregiving had little to no effect on the dependent variables of psychological wellbeing, satisfaction with leisure time, financial resources, or marital quality. Russell Ward and Glenna Spitze (1998) investigated the frequency of multigenerational caregiving and the impact of these responsibilities on perceived marital quality. Even though women provided more assistance to children and parents than men, marital happiness was shown to increase with age. Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, Margaret B. Neal, and Leslie Hammer (2001) examined the beneficial aspects of receiving help from the aging parents to whom sandwich generation members were providing care. Results indicated that receiving help from aging parents was both positive and negative for sandwich generation members. Emotional support was consistently beneficial, whereas instrumental support (i.e., financial assistance, help with child care and domestic tasks) was problematic.

A small number of researchers have examined the effect of multigenerational caregiving on the well-being of children and adolescents. Jacob Kraemer Tebes and Julie T. Irish (2000) evaluated the impact of support interventions for multigenerational caregiving mothers on the behavior of their children. The authors found that children of intervention participants displayed reduced depression and increased social competence. Sharon Hamill (1994) evaluated parent-adolescent communication among middle generation caregivers and found that strain between caregiving mothers and aging parents was associated with poor communication with adolescent children.

Additional topics

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