Cross-Cultural Perspective on Attitudes toward Family Responsibility and Well-Being in Later Years

  • Catherine B. Silver
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


In this chapter, we used cross-national surveys from Japan and the United States to look at the perceptions of responsibility of children toward elderly parents, desirable ways of living in old age, and well-being in later years. By comparing Japan and the United States, we want to contribute to the analysis of the role of culture in mediating between values and age structures (Foner, 1984; Riley, Kahn, & Foner, 1994). The analysis of selected questions from these surveys, referred to as the Generations project,* is used to raise theoretical issues about shared attitudes toward aging and well-being, and the emergence of a trans-cultural sense of self among older people. By comparing age groups and looking at the discrepancies between younger adults’ and older persons’ perceptions of aging and normative expectations, we hope to throw some light on the discourse of aging in postmodern society. We further want to explore how the family provides a context that protects and isolates, helps and controls older people, creating tensions between emotional caring in the family and social isolation in the larger community, what we describe as paradoxes of attachment. Such an analysis requires that family relations be understood within the larger cultural framework of rights and obligations in each country.


United States Elderly Parent Family Responsibility Productive Aging Normative Expectation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine B. Silver
    • 1
  1. 1.Brooklyn College and the Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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