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Being a Caregiver for Aging Parents: Adult Children's Filial Belief, Capacity of Integrating Intergenerational Cross-time-and-space Experience, and Their Role Identification of Caregiver



Parallel abstracts

Intergenerational relationships play a central role in shaping elderly well-being, especially for Chinese family, in which filial piety is a primary virtue to urge adult children to fulfill their role obligation as a caregiver of their aging parents. This study adopts the dual filial piety model and investigates the different impacts of reciprocal and authoritarian filial piety on adult children's role identification of intergenerational caregiver (RIIC). It is assumed that reciprocal filial piety (RFP) has a more positive influence than authoritarian filial piety (AFP) because the former originates from authentic emotional bonding and facilitates stronger motivation to care about their parents, while the latter is affected by the internalization of Chinese social norms that emphasize children's obedience and submission to their parents. This study further examines the possible mediator, namely Integrating Cross-time-and-space Experience (ICTSE), of the abovementioned relationship between filial piety and RIIC. ICTSE represents a capacity of perspective taking and open thinking which make adult children be able to better review, integrate, and refine their early parent-children interactive experiences by multiple frames about different situations and different roles' perspectives. ICTSE facilitates adult children's self-acceptance in their intergenerational relationships, including their role reversal and identification as a caregiver. This study recruited 724 participants who were above 35 years old. These participants completed the father or/and mother version questionnaire if their father or/and mother was alive and above 60 years old. A total of 488 data were valid for investigating the relationship with father (324 of them were from female participants; average age: 43.03 years old, SD = 6.48 years; average age of their father: 73.15 years old, SD = 8.36 years). In addition, a total of 518 data were valid for investigating the relationship with mother (332 of them were from female participants; average age: 45.76 years old, SD = 7.95 years; average age of their father: 72.25 years old, SD = 8.99 years). This study used structure equation modeling to analyze two hypothetical models. The first model investigated the effect of RFP and AFP on RIIC and showed acceptable model fit for both father- and mother-child relationships. The positive effect of RFP was significant on RIIC for both father-child and mother-child dyads, while that of AFP was significant for only father-child dyad. It also indicated the effect of RFP was more superior to that of AFP for both father and mother targets. The second model further tested the mediating effect of ICSTE and also found acceptable model fit for both father-child and mother-child dyads. The positive effect of RFP was significant on ICSTE for both father-child and mother-child dyads, while that of AFP was significant for only father-child dyad. The effect of RFP was more superior to AFP for both father-child and mother-child dyads. ICTSE had a positively significant effect on RIIC for both father-child and mother-child dyads. The mediating effect of ICTSE in the path from RFP to RIIC was significant for both father-child and mother-child dyads, whereas that in the path from AFP to RIIC was significant for only father-child dyad. This study highlights that filial piety in Chinese society could promote family to bring its functions of supporting and caring for aging parents into fully play. The findings might be important in providing professional consultants and family life educators a better understanding of how filial belief urges Chinese adult to identify their role of intergenerational caregiver and care about their elderly parents' well-being more sincerely.


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