Types of relations between adult children and elderly parents in Taiwan: Mechanisms accounting for various relational types

Chin chun Yi*, Ju ping Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the intergenerational relationships in an East Asian society, Taiwan. Types of relations from children's perspective are used to illustrate the dynamics between adult children and their parents. Due to the rapidly declining co-residence between generations, it is assumed that those who do not practice coresidence with parents will become the majority and thus, will become the focus of analysis. Data are taken from the 2006 Taiwan Social Change Survey (Phase 5 Wave 2). The sample is constituted by 756 adults with at least one parent alive but who are not co-residing at the time of the survey. The intergenerational solidarity model proposed by Bengtson is used as the theoretical framework. The analysis first presents the difference between the co-resident and the nonco-resident groups. Then the Latent Class analysis is performed to derive five types of relations with the Normative type being the highest, followed by the Detached and the Tight-knit, then the Sociable, and lastly the Intimate but Distant type. The final analysis focuses on mechanisms accounting for different relational types. Preliminary result from Multinomial Logistic Regression indicates that the relational types derived may be an outcome of the interplay between individual resources and patriarchal norms. Most importantly, gender differentials appear to follow the prescribed cultural norm in that married sons are likely to endorse the filial norm and to fall into the Normative type, while married daughters tend to enjoy close emotional relationships and to engage in functional exchanges with parents. The paper concludes that future intergenerational relationships in Taiwan may continue to be of the strong Normative type, but at the same time, the Tight-knit type between generations may be observed. The cultural implication of possible future development is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-324
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Intergenerational relations
  • Patriarchal norms
  • Solidarity model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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