The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Factors Associated With Intergenerational Support Among Immigrant Older Adults

Friday, January 17, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Sung-wan Kang, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Soo-Jung Byoun, MA, Research Asssiant and Project Manager - Vida Alegre, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Wonik Lee, phD, Research Associate, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Purpose: Although the role of adult children in providing support to their elderly parents has been increasingly replaced by government programs, the sustainability of these programs remain questionable due to the rapidly increasing population of older adults. Moreover, family members remain primarily responsible for providing care to their elderly family members. Older adults and their adult children exchange various types of support such as physical, emotional, financial, and social support. These types of support and resources not only flow from adult children to elderly parents, but also from elderly parents to adult children. Intergenerational support exchange appears to be more important for immigrant older adults since significant numbers of immigrants are reluctant to use or are not eligible for benefit programs due to residency rules (Capps, 2002). Although previous studies report that socio-demographic factors such as age, education, gender, and employment of older adults contribute to the likelihood of providing and receiving intergenerational support (Grundy, 2005; Quashie & Zimmer, 2012), few studies have examined intergenerational support exchange between immigrant older adults and their adult children. This study fills this gap by investigating the relationship between socio-demographics of immigrant older adults and intergenerational financial support exchange.

Methods: Utilizing the New Immigrant Survey (NIS) dataset, we examine the effects of socio- demographic factors on intergenerational financial support among immigrant elderly. We limited our study to elderly adults, 55 years and older and children who were 17 years and older (N=554). We examined the effect of factors that predict giving financial support. We subsequently investigated factors associated with receiving financial support. Intergenerational support was measured asking whether the respondents provided or received financial assistance during the past 12 months from their children who were not living in the same household. Socio-demographic factors include age, heath condition, education, marital status, employment status, gender, and race/ethnicity. We applied logistic regression to examine whether socio-demographic factors influence support exchange between immigrant older adults and their children.

Results: Findings indicate that elderly parents not only receive, but also provide financial support to their children. As elderly parents get older, they are less likely to provide financial support to their adult children. An increase in age by one year is associated with 11.5% decrease in the likelihood. Non-working older adults are less likely to give financial support (66.8% lower than working older adults) and more likely to receive financial support from their adult children (almost four times higher than working older adults). Asian older adults are less likely to receive financial support from their adult children (52.4% lower than Hispanic older adults).

Implications: Our findings have major implications regarding financial support exchange among immigrant populations. Understanding the health and social factors that affect the intergenerational financial support may help social workers identify immigrant older adults who are in need of financial support and who are more likely to have financial support. These findings also have implications for further research on other types of support among immigrants and provide government suggestions on how to plan benefit programs.