ICSSR/UGC/Other Project

ICSSR FUNDED MAJOR RESEARCH PROJECT (2013-2015)

“A Psycho-Social Study on Intergenerational Relation In Interdependent Society”

Principal investigator Dr. Sunil K. Verma, Dept. of Applied Psychology

The aim of present study was to identify the pattern of intergenerational relations in interdependent society; examining the role of family functioning on it and the role of demographic variables (location, economic class and familial role) on intergenerational relations and study the processes of  different types of intergenerational relations (solidarity, ambivalence & conflict). The overall study sample consisted of 720 individuals. 360 urban and 360 rural respondents from joint family participated in this study. From each urban and rural segment, 120 respondents belonged to higher economic class, 120 from middle class and 120 from lower economic class conditions. Under each economic class, 30 fathers, 30 sons, 30 mothers-in-laws and 30 daughter- in-laws were chosen for this study.

In this study, a self-constructed measurement scale was used for data collection i.e. consensual process(familial values & attitude,) functional process (support), normative process(familial role, responsibility, obligation, norms), affection, association, subjective experiences(loss of authority, powerlessness, loss of respect, loss of autonomy, and burden) and coping strategies (problem focused, emotional focused strategies & reactionary behaviour approach ).

Findings revealed that both the generations perceived the differences on consensual process in terms of differences in values and attitudes and reported that they didn’t receive the support from next generation. Whereas they didn’t perceive the differences on normative process (fulfilment of familial role, responsibility and norms) with next generation but on the dimension of obligation, the experiencing generation perceived that the next generation didn’t fulfil their familial obligations. In context of negative subjective experiences, experiencing generation reported that they didn’t experience loss of authority, powerlessness, loss of respect and burden. But in reference to loss of autonomy, experiencing generation perceived that they experienced loss of autonomy. In context coping strategies, both the generations disagreed that they used problem focused strategies or reactionary behaviour approach during these experiences. But they reported that they are using emotional focused coping strategies and experienced affection, association in relationship and had solidarity and ambivalent type of relationship.

In reference to location, comparison findings showed that rural people had better experiences than the urban respondents so rural people showed more solidarity experiences whereas urban people reported more conflict in comparison to rural respondents.

In context of role (father/son/mother-in-law/daughter-in-law), findings showed that they significantly differed on the certain dimensions of consensual process where as in context of functional and normative process, there were no significant differences between them. In reference to subjective experiences, they significantly differed only on loss of autonomy and on the rest of the dimensions; there were no significant differences between them. In reference to role, there was no significant difference between them which means that there was similar trend between fathers, sons, mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws in use of problem focused coping and emotional focused coping strategies and reactionary behaviour approach and had similar experiences in terms of affection, association, association, solidarity, ambivalence or conflict.

In context of economic conditions, findings revealed that higher class experienced   better on consensual process, functional process and normative process and on subjective experiences, higher class too had better experiences followed by middle class and lower class group. In reference to coping strategies, problem focused coping strategy pattern showed that higher class used more of it followed by middle class and lower class group. In reference to reactionary behaviour approach, mean pattern showed that lower class showed more reactionary behaviour than middle class and higher class group.  In context of emotional focused coping strategies, there were no significant differences between higher and middle class respondents, whereas they significantly differed with lower class respondents. Means pattern showed that middle and higher class used more emotional focused coping strategies in comparison to lower class group.  So respondents from all economic classes being from higher class, middle class and lower class significantly differed on affection, association, solidarity, and ambivalence and conflict dimensions. In reference to affection, association and solidarity, there was no significant difference between higher and middle class where as they significantly differed from lower class. It means that in higher and middle class group, a similar trend was experienced in relation to dimensions of affection, association and solidarity but lower class group experienced low level in comparison to higher and middle class.

In the process of solidarity, generations perceived the differences on consensual processes but they perceived that generations do fulfil normative process and provide support to each other and showed that they were experience having authority and respect within relationship (family).  In response to these experiences, they used low level of reactionary behaviour and higher level of problem focused coping strategies, so they maintained affection and association in relationship and experienced solidarity in relationship. Whereas in context of ambivalence, experiencing generation perceived the difference on consensual process and fulfilment of familial obligations in normative process but they perceived that both the generations provide the requisite support to each other. In the process of subjective experiences, they showed that they were having authority but they experienced powerlessness and loss of respect and   they used lower level of problem focused coping strategies and higher level of emotional focused coping strategies, so they maintained ambivalence within the relationship. In the process of conflict, experiencing generation perceived that they were having differences on consensual process, functional process and normative process and had experienced loss of authority. In these experiences, they denied the use of problem focused coping strategies and used higher level of reactionary behaviour approach so they experienced low level of affection and association, therefore, maintained conflicting type of relationship.