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Publication #FAR1623

Potential Benefits of Adult Children Living Longer at Home1

Suzanna Smith2

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When my children went off to college, they clearly expressed that moving back home was not an option. Like most young adults, they were ready to set off on their own.

However, new research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family (Leopold, 2012) suggests that in some cases, all members of the family may benefit when an adult child chooses to remain living at home for a period of time. This large study of over 6,000 families in 14 European countries who were followed over time looked at how an adult child’s extended residence with parents affected parent-child relations later in life.

It turned out that living together during those young adult years “set the stage” for strong bonds and mutual support later on (Leopold, 2012, p. 399). The adult children who left home last “lived…closest to their aging parents, maintained the most frequent contact, and offered more practical help than their siblings” (Leopold, 2012, p. 408). There were benefits for adult children, too—parents offered them more support than they did their other children, particularly when it came to caring for grandchildren.

It seems that living at home during young adulthood may create a sense of obligation to repay or be responsible for parents later in life. This mutual caring also brings a sense of “intergenerational solidarity,” strengthening parent-child relationships in the long term. Parents whose children are slow to leave the nest may get comfort in knowing that they may ultimately be rewarded with practical help and support later in life.

Listening, learning, and living together: it is the science of life. “Family Album” is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension and the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. If you would like to learn more, please visit our website at http://familyalbumradio.org, or find Family Album Radio on Facebook.

To listen to this segment visit: http://radiosource.net/radio_stories/1968.mp3

Reference

Leopold, T. (2012). The legacy of leaving home: Long-term effects of coresidence on parent-child relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family 74, 399-412. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.00964.x

Footnotes

1.

This document is FAR1623, one of a series of the Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original broadcast date July 2012, as program 1968. Published on EDIS August 2013. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.