First Advisor

Emily Shafer

Date of Publication

Spring 6-10-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Sociology






Adult children living with parents, Parent and adult child, Intergenerational relations, Generation Y -- Family relationships, Generation X -- Family relationships



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 49 pages)


Young adults of the twenty-first century face a long path to adulthood marked by uncertainty and lack of stability. In response, young adults are heading back to or failing to leave their family homes in higher numbers than generations before (Jacobsen and Mather 2011; Qian 2012). These macro-level trends bring about questions about their impact on family relationships as well as how these relationships have evolved over time. My thesis investigates parent-child relationships during co-residence with a specific focus on generation and gender differences. Through secondary data analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households, I explore how parent-child relationships during co-residence differ between parents of Generation Xer young adults (born between 1965-1980) and Millennial young adults (born between 1981-1996). Additionally, I examine gender differences between these two generational cohorts. My findings offer support that intergenerational relationships are not necessary closer, but look different for parents of Millennials as compared to Generation Xers. I also find that there are significant gender differences between mothers and fathers of Generation Xers versus those of Millennials. I find that mothers of Generation Xers report more time shared with co-residing young adults and increased frequency of perceived emotional support from their child than fathers; yet, fathers of Millennials report more perceived support than mothers. I suggest these findings offer support for the notion that gendered roles play out into young adulthood and potentially have more flexibility for fathers across time. As the economic and social landscape continues to change and present more uncertainty, family relationships become a form of social security; thus it becomes increasingly important to understand these dynamics. My findings are significant as they contribute to a better understanding of parent-child relationships over time and offer discussion on the potential implications.


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