Matrilineal Advantage in Grandchild–Grandparent Relations | The Gerontologist | Oxford Academic
Consanguinity is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that aspect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person. The laws of many jurisdictions set out degrees of consanguinity in relation to .. of a population known as inbreeding depression, a major objective in clinical. about the diYcult negotiations involved in their consanguineal relations and their unsatisfactory .. He started to feel very depressed and, at a certain stage. Consanguineal relationships run via the fundamental parent–child relation. .. found no effect of children's divorce on changes in parents' level of depression.
This follows from the bilateral nature of kinship ties in Western societies, which give both sides of the family equal rights to a grandchild Cherlin and Furstenberg Mothers, of course, are not the sole influence on grandchild—grandparent relations. In a two-parent family, variations in the support and affective relations of fathers with the grandparent generation can also create lineage differences in grandchild—grandparent ties.
Fathers can contribute to a matrilineal advantage just like mothers if they favor the maternal side, or they can have a neutral role if they have equinanimous ties with all grandparents. However, we expect that a more likely scenario would involve fathers having closer ties to their own side of the family because of the same pressures that lead mothers to favor their own parents. Thus, variations in the social relations of fathers with grandparents are likely to induce a patrilineal advantage in grandchild—grandparent relations.
Lineage variations in fathers' and mothers' relations with grandparents could develop separately, such as when norms of obligation to blood kin lead each parent to independently develop closer ties to their own side of the family. However, spousal differentials could also be connected. The linkage could be causal, with closer relations between mothers and one side of the family facilitating closer relations between fathers and that side of the family.
Such a situation could emerge as a result of the kinkeeping role of women, which gives them an influential role in determining the quality of relations of other family members Hagestad ; Rosenthal Alternatively, lineage differentials in father and mother relations with the grandparent generation could be the product of a single underlying process, with both parents jointly deciding to direct their attention to the same or different sides of the family to maximize the gains that may accrue from intergenerational relationships Becker ; Berk and Berk These connections indicate that each parent is influential for grandchild—grandparent relations, and variations in the relations of fathers and mothers with the grandparent generation have to be considered for us to fully explain lineage differentials in grandchild—grandparent ties.
In summary, we argue that matrilineal advantage in grandchild—grandparent relations results from differences in the way mothers and fathers in the middle relate to the members of the grandparent generation, and we expect to find confirmation for a number of hypotheses. The importance of blood relations over affinal ties, the strength of the parent—child bond, and other factors suggest the following: Fathers and mothers in the middle have unequal relations with the grandparent generation, with mothers having closer ties and a greater likelihood of providing support to the maternal side and fathers favoring paternal grandparents.
These lineage differentials in G2—G1 relations are important because previous studies have found the following: Relations between grandparents and the middle generation are linked to the quality of grandchild—grandparent relations. Grandparents who receive support and maintain better relations with the middle generation have closer relationships with grandchildren. Taken together, Hypotheses 1 and 2 suggest a link between the unequal relations that mothers and fathers maintain with maternal and paternal grandparents and lineage differentials in the quality of grandchild—grandparent relations.
We expect to find evidence favoring the following hypotheses: Closer relations between fathers and the paternal side is linked to closer relations between paternal grandparents and grandchildren. Thus, controlling for fathers' social support and affective relations with grandparents will increase the effect of maternal lineage on grandchild—grandparent relations.
The matrilineal advantage in grandchild—grandparent relations is linked to variations in the support and affective relations of mothers with the grandparent generation.
Controlling for relations between mothers and grandparents explains away or accounts for the effects of maternal lineage on grandchild—grandparent relations. In other words, fathers' support and affective relations function as suppressor variables in that the patrilineal biases that they induce suppress the magnitude of overall matrilineal bias in grandchild—grandparent ties.
Thus, controlling for these variables would increase the size of the matrilineal bias in grandchild—grandparent relations. Mothers' support and affective relations, on the other hand, are explanatory variables in that they are the source of matrilineal advantage in grandchild—grandparent relations. Thus, controlling for these variables will explain away the effect of lineage in multivariate models. Alternative Perspectives on Matrilineal Advantage In a society with bilateral kinship patterns, focusing on the actions and relations of the middle generation with grandparents is, in our view, the best strategy for explaining the matrilineal bias of grandchildren with two parents.
This is especially true if the grandchild is young and still living at home. However, other perspectives or approaches might be more appropriate when investigating matrilineal advantage in other types of societies or family situations. For example, one could draw on the anthropological or sociobiological literature on kinship ties to explain grandchild—grandparent relations in unilineal societies van den Berghe In such settings, one would expect lineage differentials in the closeness of grandchild—grandparent relations to be a function of established descent rules favoring one side of the family.
One can think of the extended family as a corporate unit headed by an altruistic family patriarch or matriarch who allocates resources with an eye toward maximizing the family's well-being Lee, Parish, and Willis Another approach to explaining matrilineal bias in grandchild—grandparent relations is to focus on culture and history. Specifically, some have argued that the matrifocal tilt of low-income African American families reflects the survival of African family patterns Burgess, ; Sudarkasa Unlike Western families, which are organized around the nuclear family, traditional African families were organized around matrilineal or patrilineal clans.
In these kinship groups, childrearing is not the sole responsibility of parents but a shared task that is also performed by aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other members of the larger extended family unit.
Thus, the argument is that these traditions have survived over time and are reflected in contemporary African American families in the strong role of maternal grandparents in the lives of grandchildren. Other researchers studying grandchild—grandparent relations in single-parent families have focused on the consequences of events surrounding the transition to single parenthood.
In the case of divorced families, closer relations to maternal grandparents is conceptualized as the result of custody arrangements formed after marital dissolution Aldous ; Hagestad The G2 mother often retains custody of children after divorce, preserving avenues for contact with maternal grandparents.
Help from the maternal grandparents to their daughter increases contact and further enhances relations with the grandchildren. By contrast, relations between grandchildren and the paternal side diminish because fathers tend to drop out of children's lives, making visits from paternal grandparents especially awkward Cherlin and Furstenberg In the case of single parenthood resulting from a mother giving birth outside of marriage, close ties between the grandchild and maternal grandparents may simply be the result of intergenerational coresidence between the mother and the grandparents.
Never-married mothers, especially those who are teen-aged, often lack the resources necessary to establish an independent household and may have to live with their parents for an extended period of time McLanahan and Garfinkel Coresidence between grandchild and maternal grandparents provides constant opportunities for interaction and may well explain why maternal grandparents develop a more parentlike role than paternal grandparents Oyserman, Radin, and Benn In summary, there is a range of alternative explanations for matrilineal advantage that also deserve consideration if we are to fully understand why grandchildren have unequal relations with the grandparent generation.
They are not addressed in the present study because the evaluation of these theories requires data from families and societies that are not covered by our sample. Nevertheless, we try to draw out the implications of this research for some of these alternative perspectives in the Discussion and Conclusion. To our knowledge, no other data set provides complete information on all of the surviving grandparents of each grandchild, a necessary condition for executing a within-family analysis of grandchild—grandparent bonds see AppendixNote 2.
The IYFP began in with a representative sample of two-parent households residing in eight contiguous farm-dependent counties in north-central Iowa. Data were collected from the father, mother, a focal child who was in the 7th grade inand a near-aged sibling. During the follow-up, focal children were asked about relationships with up to 4 living grandparents—a paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, and maternal grandmother.
Because our main goal was to examine lineage differences in grandchild—grandparent relations, we only analyzed grandchildren who still had at least one surviving grandparent on each side. The typical sample grandchild was about 14 years of age, in the 9th grade, and with aspirations to go to college. The Iowa sample is probably less diverse than the national population of grandchildren and grandparents see AppendixNote 3. We had a sample of White, rural adolescent grandchildren and their relatively young grandparents.
Although these restrictions preclude us from making any national generalizations, the empirical analyses that follow are still highly relevant. They allow us to conduct a first test of a basic within-family model of maternal advantage, one that future researchers can replicate for other ecologies and subpopulations. Variables Variables for the empirical analyses are listed in the table in the Appendix. The dependent variable is relationship quality, a measure of the affective dimension of grandchild—grandparent bonds Rossi and Rossi Grandchildren were asked to rate their current relationship with each surviving grandparent by using a 5-point scale.
A score of 5 indicates an excellent relationship, whereas 1 signifies a very poor rating. The first measure is social support, a binary variable that is equal to 1 if a grandparent received emotional or material assistance from a parent see AppendixNote 4. The second measure is a scale that tracks the perceived condition of the parent—grandparent connection.
It is the mean score on two items from the wave of the survey: We consider this scale a measure of the congeniality of G2—G1 ties because a high score indicates cordial ties i.
In analyzing these variables, we used separate measures for G2 fathers and mothers to capture their independent effects on the grandchild—grandparent connection. All of the multivariate analyses included controls for grandparents' proximity, health, age, gender, education, work status, and farm background, variables that may vary by lineage and simultaneously have an influence on the grandchild—grandparent connection.
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Models The availability of complete information on the quality of relations between a grandchild and each surviving grandparent in the IYFP allowed us to analyze within-family differences in grandchild—grandparent relations. We took the perspective of the grandchild i. We implemented this approach by using fixed-effect models, a statistical framework that allowed us to focus on within-family differentials in cross-generational relations Greene ; Sayrs ; see AppendixNote 6.
For the purpose of estimating this model, we constructed a repeated-observations file that has one observation for each grandparent-grandchild dyad. In other words, a grandchild with 2 grandparents contributes 2 observations i. We then use this file to estimate the following fixed-effect model: The grandchild-specific intercepts automatically account for any and all measured and unmeasured grandchild-specific characteristics; that is, the model automatically controls for characteristics that vary between grandchildren but not among the grandchildren's grandparents.
Thus, indicators such as the grandchilds' family background, competence, or age need not be included in the model. It also follows that the fixed-effect model only estimates the effects of variables that vary within a family i.
Depression and Relationships
Therefore, an important property of this model is that only within-family i. For example, the effect of a variable such as proximity in a fixed-effect model would capture how between-grandparents variation in a family in distance is linked to between-grandparents differences in grandparent—grandchild relations. In the multivariate analyses that follow, our general strategy is to begin with a baseline model that estimates the magnitude of the overall maternal bias in grandparent—grandchild relations, net of the control variables.
Then, we add successive sets of explanatory variables to the model to identify key sources of inequality by lineage. If variations in mothers' and fathers' support and affective relations with the grandparent generation explain the matrilineal advantage, then adding these variables to the model should explain away the effect of maternal lineage.
Results Lineage is an important factor for grandchild—grandparent relations in our sample of rural Iowa grandchildren. As Table 1 shows, grandchildren perceive better relations with maternal grandparents, rating them.
This is remarkable given that patterns of proximity favor paternal grandparents which, in theory, gives them an edge in terms of frequency of contact and opportunities for the development of close ties King and Elder Ties between the middle and grandparent generations also vary by lineage, with mothers having more congenial ties and a greater likelihood of supporting maternal grandparents.
Conclusions such as these are based on analyses of the relationship between employment and reproductive patterns, however. Missing is an analysis of the stress that can be engendered by attempting to breastfeed an infant or keep track of toddlers while engaging in productive activities that must constantly be interrupted.
Maternal Roles Perhaps no role presents women with such rewards and anxieties as motherhood. A sample of educated Ghanaian women ranked the maternal role as of highest priority for their well-being an average score of 2. Any parent will quickly identify with the stress as well as the pleasures of rearing children. As a woman interviewed in Mexico remarked, "My children are my greatest source of happiness, but also my greatest worry" Warwick,p. The theme of women's ambivalence about the maternal role appears throughout much of the ethnographic literature.
The question of interest here is whether contraceptive use and controlled fertility might contribute to lower levels of psychosocial stress anxiety, depression, hostility associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and patenting. This paper does not address the issue of involuntary subfecundity or sterility which can produce extremely high stress levels among individuals or couples desiring to become biological parents.
The psychosocial benefits of contraceptive use and controlled fertility to women who are at high risk of pregnancy-related disabilities or even death are obviously great. These risks may be associated with a woman's individual characteristics, her class position, or the environment of health care services.
Women often express fear of disability during pregnancy and of excruciating pain or death in delivery. Other things being equal, controlled fertility should contribute to reductions in psychosocial stress associated with entry into the maternal role. At the minimum, adequate care means sufficient breast milk and food, clothing, shelter, and protection from accidents, illness, and death.
Beyond sheer survival it means economic resources for medical care, schooling, and other investments; time and energy for individual attention to each child; appropriate socialization to age-related responsibilities; and the transmission of cultural values and practices. In general, one would assume that voluntary postponement of the first birth, longer spacing of subsequent births, and the termination of childbearing at an earlier age would ease the stress of the maternal role by reducing women's anxieties about providing adequate care.
In Huston's interviews in six developing countries, for example, most women considered smaller families however defined to be more desirable and identified the availability of modern contraceptives as a positive change compared with their mothers' lives: In expressing their views about planning their families, the women seemed to be less concerned about themselves than about their ability to provide for their children [especially education for good jobs].
When they did speak about themselves, it was in terms of their health and the fact that child spacing would give them strength p. On the other hand, controlled fertility may not reduce the stress associated with raising children if role expectations escalate with regard to the time or intensity of maternal investment along with aspirations for children's ''success.
In other words, the nature and severity of the stresses relating to maternal role performance are strongly related to social class and cultural expectations. In addition, as Figure 1 suggests, stresses induced by maternal role strain or role conflict can be mediated by adaptive mechanisms such as social support networks e.
Domestic, Kinship, and Community Roles Space does not permit a detailed analysis of the possible effects of contraceptive use and controlled fertility on each of these roles. A few points will be highlighted here. The domestic role refers to women's housekeeping obligations such as cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, etc. The sample of educated Ghanaian women ranked this sixth of the seven roles in priority, the lowest in derived satisfaction, and the highest in role strain inadequate time, energy, and money Oppong and Abu, Women throughout the world complain particularly of the stresses of the "double day," when conjugal, maternal, and domestic role expectations are heaped on top of occupational roles with little modification.
Women's anger is often palpable: I work in the field, opposite the men, seven hours of hard work, and then I go home, and I am required to play the role of housewife percent, cleaning, and washing for the children Huston, I am working outside and inside.
I am doing a dual job. Some people think that work is liberation of women. It is not liberation. Sometimes it is just that women are more exploited Huston, The extent to which controlled fertility eases the stress of this role depends on many factors, including household size; age and sex composition; standards of upkeep; and the availability of additional help from household members or from other relatives, neighbors, or paid workers.
In general, one would assume that having fewer children and spacing them further apart eases domestic role performance. Yet, as in the case of child care, standards for domestic role performance can escalate with rising incomes, among other factors.
Moreover, the literature on sex preferences and the value of children indicates that most women hope to have at least one daughter even in countries with very strong preferences for boys, primarily but not solely because girls help around the house more than boys do. In this sense, then, the failure to bear a daughter could exacerbate domestic role strain, especially if there are many sons and little help from others. The kinship role refers to a woman's relationship with her affinal and consanguineal kin and in some cases with "fictive kin" e.
Good relations with kin can endow women with considerable satisfaction and self-esteem. On the other hand, the kin role can be highly conflicted. A woman may resent her husband's filial obligations to his parents or other elders if they conflict with his conjugal obligations to herself and their children, for example.
She may be caught in a dispute between her own and her husband's kin over a dowry or bride price, with her husband's brothers over property when she becomes widowed, or with cowives over the allocation of resources to children in a polygamous marriage. The expectations of kin regarding a woman's contraceptive practices and childbearing may conflict sharply with her own wishes, particularly when elders expect to maintain control over the sexual and reproductive decisions of the younger generation through mechanisms such as arranged marriages and extended household residence.
In speculating on the potential impact of contraceptive use and controlled fertility on kin relations, then, we would have to know whether such behavior is generally supported by significant kin, ignored, or specifically opposed and criticized.
A woman whose behavior is viewed as deviant may experience considerable guilt, anxiety, or hostility when she seeks contraceptive services or "fails" to produce a child, or the socially "appropriate" number of children, or a son. Such examples are common. A wife interviewed in the Nile Delta region in Egypt commented: The bride must get pregnant right away. I stayed four months after marriage without getting pregnant.
I was very worried. Everyone was anxious to find out whether I was pregnant or not. Every time I had my period my husband's family talked about me Warwick, On the other hand, fulfilling the reproductive expectations of the kin group often brings women real satisfaction: My husband's family treated me differently after I had the first child.
I felt settled and secure among them. I became one of them.
They all called me "mother of Hassan" Warwick, We might include women's concerns about who win support and take care of them in their old age under the general topic of kin roles, although such concerns relate more specifically to the maternal and conjugal roles. The absence of sons or daughters who are able and willing to care for an aged parent creates a strong potential for anxiety or depression among women without alternative means of support.
In the Egyptian study noted above, "the fear of being a widow without children, and especially without sons [was] one of the strongest motives for women to produce more children than they might ideally desire. Beyond the kin group, women play a role in community relations that may be broad or limited and of high or low priority, depending on many factors.
As noted in the discussion of kin roles, contraceptive use may or may not be stressful depending in part on community attitudes and practices: Community activities include participation in religious and ceremonial events, political meetings, sports and recreation, entertainment, community projects, and general public socializing, among other events.
Fertility limitation may or may not facilitate women's involvement in community activities. In some respects it could act in a manner similar to women's occupational roles. In other respects, however, having more rather than fewer children could encourage community involvement, given that many community activities are child related and children often involve adults in social interactions that transcend other roles.
These community roles could be stress inducing if they conflict with other roles or they could be stress reducing if they integrate women into supportive social networks, increase women's access to other resources, and heighten women's sense of community identity and self-esteem.
Women as Individuals The role of "individual" is listed last, not because it is unimportant but because for many women, especially those with large families living in poverty, it is the role that women have the least time for. The content of this role includes activities such as pursuing personal interests; relationships with friends; and identities relating to women as persons, as individuals, as "themselves. It is difficult conceptually to separate a woman's individual role from others because her self-perception often derives primarily from her roles as wife or lover, worker, mother, daughter or daughter-in-law, and so on.
Nevertheless, several aspects of the individual role deserve mention here. The first relates to how contraceptive use affects women's self-perception. As mentioned previously, it can contribute to heightened self-esteem where women believe they are now in greater control over their sexuality and reproductive capacity and thus, perhaps, over other aspects of their lives as well.
Yet contraceptive use also has psychosocial costs to women as individuals. Depending on the method, these fears include but are not limited to dizziness, physical weakness, pain, nausea, altered menstrual flow, cancer, bodily damage, temporary or permanent sterility, and even death.
They also include concerns about whether to continue or discontinue a particular method. A second cost relates to worries about using a method correctly or consistently, such as taking a pill every day or inserting a diaphragm or cervical cap correctly, and the associated self-perception as a person who is "unnaturally" or perhaps "sinfully" trying to avoid or terminate a pregnancy.
A third cost relates to the psychosocial stress of obtaining services and supplies. Women attending urban clinics in Morocco, for example, complained bitterly of degrading and dehumanizing treatment by clinic personnel: If you make a mistake, if you mispronounce a word, the name of a syrup or a pill, the nurse laughs at you, calls her colleagues to tell them the story and points at you.
You feel the floor crumble away under your feet Mernissi, When we are waiting to get into a gynecological service, they will shout at us. You feel inhuman Mernissi, Clearly, then, psychosocial stress induced by the act of obtaining birth control services should clearly be considered in any cost-benefit analysis in addition to the stress engendered by their use.
Finally, there is the question of how women's roles as individuals are affected by fertility limitation. Delaying the first birth, spacing subsequent births, and limiting the total number should leave women more time to pursue their own interests as individuals other things being equal and perhaps to develop a stronger individual identity. This is particularly true of women who avoid childbearing altogether.
Yet whether fertility limitation translates into a more individualized role or a more positive or negative self-image for women depends on many factors.
Much depends on the structural and cultural opportunities provided to women for individual role behaviors in each society and on the relative priorities that a woman herself places on the individual role compared to others particularly, marriage and motherhood in her role profile. Where opportunities are plentiful and priorities high, fertility limitation should reduce individual role strain and thus the stress engendered by having "no time for myself" or wondering "who am I?
Women who remain childless by choice or who have one or two children may be viewed as selfish, irresponsible, or unnatural, while those with larger families are often seen as warm, loving persons who are willing to make sacrifices and take on adult responsibilities.
Women may consequently experience considerable anxiety about their worth as persons if their reproductive behavior deviates significantly from the social norms of their group. Once again, however, psychosocial stress can be diluted by the adaptive mechanisms identified in Figure 1. In particular, if the environment offers some choice and a woman has the resources, she can seek out those activities and social networks that offer the strongest confirmation of her role as an individual.
Conclusions With few exceptions the demographic analysis of the health consequences to women and children of contraceptive use and controlled fertility has essentially ignored the question of mental health. Because most reproductive events and conditions are highly charged emotionally and socially, it is essential that the psychosocial as well as physical consequences of reproductive behaviors be routinely included in any calculus of health benefits and risks.
In a parallel fashion it is not just maternal mortality or morbidity that are relevant but also the broader notion of reproductive mortality or morbidity or, conversely, reproductive healthwhich encompasses the health risks and benefits involved in attempts to prevent pregnancy as well as of pregnancy, childbirth, and sexual behaviors.
Three distinct although interrelated dimensions of psychosocial stress have been identified in this paper: Clearly, such attitudes and behaviors are not easy to measure. Some women may express such feelings verbally; others suffer in silence; still others act out in compulsive or damaging behaviors.
Anxiety, depression, and hostility may also be expressed in real or imagined physical symptoms. A study of rural women in El Salvador, for example, identified a remarkable range of psychophysiological "folk" symptoms that compare with standard definitions of anxiety states and depressive neurosis Harrison, Many of these symptoms were attributed to stresses relating to reproductive patterns, child survival, and contraceptive use, over and above those engendered by other factors such as poverty and fears of the supernatural.
In analyzing the psychosocial consequences to women of contraceptive use and controlled fertility, it is helpful to identify the ways in which such behaviors affect women's perceptions of their performance of seven social roles: Reproductive behaviors that intensify rather than reduce role strain or role conflict, particularly among those roles that a woman defines as most salient to her security and survival, are likely to be the most stressful.
Negative outcomes may be reduced or avoided by adaptive mechanisms such as social support networks, economic resources, information, and structural changes that alleviate role strain or conflict and the resulting psychosocial stress.
Each of the four main elements in this model of reproductive behavior and psychosocial stress differs significantly among women according to numerous individual, group, and environmental characteristics: Each element is also highly relevant to population and health policy in ways that cannot be pursued here.
The four elements and their interconnections are intertwined in personal life histories and are deeply imbedded in social structures and ideologies of kinship, class, and caste.
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The cultural context of condom use in Japan. Studies in Family Planning 12 1: The family as a source of stress. Levine, editor; and N. Psychological Perspectives on Population. Perceptions of the value of children: A Comparative Study of Human Reproduction, 2nd ed. Human Relations Area Files Press. To Bear a Child: Meanings and Strategies in Rural El Salvador. Women and the World of Work. Center for Policy Studies.
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