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The Gerontologist 41:191-200 (2001)
© 2001 The Gerontological Society of America

Retirement Effects on Parent–Adult Child Contacts

Maximiliane E. Szinovacz, PhDa and Adam Davey, PhDb

a Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA
b Department of Child and Family Development, University of Georgia, Athens

Correspondence: Maximiliane E. Szinovacz, PhD, Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hofheimer Hall, Suite 201, 825 Fairfax Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23518. E-mail: Maxres{at}

Laurence G. Branch, PhD

Purpose: This study examined whether parents' retirement influences their contacts (visits, telephone/letter) with adult children outside the household. Design and Methods: The study relied on data from the National Survey of Families and Households. The sample consisted of parent–adult child dyads where parents were aged 55–75 at time 2 and adult children resided outside the household at both waves (N = 2,153 parent–adult child dyads, based on reports from 792 parents). Generalized estimating equations (GEE) with robust standard errors were used. Results: Retirement has no significant effect on telephone contacts. Retired parents maintain frequent visits with children. For children living within 10 miles, mothers' retirement is associated with fewer and fathers' retirement with more visits. This trend varies by number of children, length of retirement, and child's gender. For children living more than 10 miles away, retired mothers decrease visits with childless children, whereas retired fathers increase visits with childless children. Implications: We attribute these findings to the gender-specific salience of child contacts for retirees and suggest that future research address children's and parents' expectations for postretirement contacts.

Key Words: Gender • Intergenerational relations • Kin relationships

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All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2001 by The Gerontological Society of America.