Intergenerational communication in Lithuanian families
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Emphasizing the significant socio-demographic changes of the last decades (family transformation and ageing of modern societies), the capability of family to perform some of its essential functions (i.e., care for the elderly) and to maintain solidarity between generations is being questionned both in academic and social policy discourse. Statistical and socio-demographic research data show that the processes related with deinstitutionalisation of a family and a rapid increase in the number of elderly people are observed in Lithuania as well. This indicates a relevance of the questions raised by Western sociologists regarding the fragmentation of social and personal ties and modification of relationships between generations (both “within” and “outside” a family) to the national context. The article explores the peculiarities of intergenerational communication in Lithuanian families, aiming to reveal the frequency of contact between parents and children, patterns of their interaction and emotional closeness—the dimensions that are crusial to an understanding of the intergenerational solidarity, exchange and support in a family. Analysis is based on the data of questionnaire survey of the Lithuanian population representing four age cohorts (persons born in 1950-1955, 1960-1965, 1970-1975 and 1980-1985, N=2000), carried out in 2011-2012. The methodology of conducted quantitative research is discussed in the first chapter; the second chapter presents analysis of empirical data. Conducted research provides evidence of maintenance of regular communication between respondents and their children/parents living apart, and reveals a more active women’s role in interaction. Personal relationships are viewed commonly through emotional prism and are given, in overall, high evalution, thus indicating the strong bonds between generations in Lithuanian families.
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