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Intergenerational relations between English students, graduates living at home, and their parents

Lewis, Jane and West, Anne ORCID: 0000-0003-2932-7667 (2016) Intergenerational relations between English students, graduates living at home, and their parents. Social Policy and Administration, 51 (7). pp. 1248-1266. ISSN 0144-5596

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Identification Number: 10.1111/spol.12229


Debate about intergenerational relations has become more prominent since the financial crisis of 2007–09, focusing particularly on the difficulties faced by young adults trying to enter the labour and housing markets, whilst often bearing high levels of debt incurred as students. This article reviews the nature of the ‘intergenerational contract’ at both the micro level of the family, and at the macro level between individuals and the state. We then present qualitative, empirical data on the relationship between parents and: (1) their student children; and (2) their graduate children who have returned home. We focus primarily on the financial support provided by parents to the two groups. We explore why support is given, and the nature of similarities and differences in terms of what is given. We find that virtually all parents who were able to support their young adult children financially did so, but to different degrees and with different amounts of tension and anxiety. We suggest that the increased importance of the intergenerational contract at the micro level is likely to contribute to intra- rather than intergenerational inequalities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2016 15:20
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2024 05:03
Projects: RPG-336
Funders: Leverhulme Trust

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