The daily consequences of widowhood: The role of gender and intergenerational transfers on subsequent housework performance

Rebecca L. Utz, Erin B. Reidy, Deborah Carr, Randolph Nesse, Camille Wortman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines (a) whether widowhood affects the performance of daily household activities, (b) the extent to which dependence on children mediates the effect of widowhood on subsequent housework performance, and (c) the extent to which these patterns vary by gender. Using the Changing Lives of Older Couples study, a prospective survey of married persons age 65 and older, we find that late-life widowhood is associated with an increase in men's housework, yet does not produce a change in women's subsequent housework performance. Dependency on children mediates the effect of widowhood on housework, suggesting that adult children assist their grieving parents with errands and other household chores. Findings imply that the daily consequences of late-life widowhood are dependent on the individual, dyadic, and intergenerational characteristics of the older adult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-712
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2004

Keywords

  • Caregiving
  • Gender roles
  • Housework
  • Instrumental activities of daily living
  • Intergenerational transfers
  • Parent-child relations
  • Widowhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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