Intergenerational Contact in Chinese Families: Structural and Cultural Explanations

Rob J. Gruijters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Although the determinants of intergenerational contact have been well documented in Western countries, we know virtually nothing about the situation in China, a country that has recently experienced unprecedented socioeconomic and demographic change. This study analyzed the frequency of (a) visits and (b) other contact (phone, text message, etc.) in a representative sample of 16,715 adult child–parent dyads, focusing in particular on the role of migration as well as children's gender, marital status, and education level. Adult children generally maintained intensive social relations with parents, although distance was a major barrier to face-to-face contact. Sons visited more often than daughters, but daughters were more likely to stay in touch by other means. Moreover, the strength of parent–daughter ties was strongly dependent on education level. These findings suggest that women's empowerment and the spread of mobile technology have created new opportunities for intergenerational solidarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-768
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 National Council on Family Relations


  • Asian/Pacific Islander families
  • families in middle and later life
  • gender
  • intergenerational relations
  • kinship
  • social support


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