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Value of Children and Intergenerational Relations in Different Cultures

Project Participants: 

Gisela Trommsdorff, Bernhard Nauck (University of Konstanz and Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany)

Collaborating Teams: Gang Zheng, Shaohua Shi, Hong Tang (People’s Repulic of China); Ivo Mozny, Petr Pakosta (Czech Republic); Colette Sabatier, Lyda Lannegrand-Willems (France); David L. Sam, Benjamin Amponsah (Ghana); Ramesh Mishra (India); Lieke Wisnubrata, Samsunuwijati Marat, Kusdwiratri Setiono, Peter R. Nelwan (Indonesia); Asher Ben-Arieh, Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia (Israel and the Palestinian Authority); Naosuke Itoigawa, Makoto Kobayashi, Shu Fujitani, Yoshiharu Tachibana (Japan); Uichol Kim, Young-Shin Park, Young-Eun Kwon (Korea); Katarzyna Lubiewska, Ludmila Zajac-Lamparska, Anna Rokowska (Poland); Zaretkhan Kh.-M. Saralieva, Vladimir A. Blonin, Alexandre A. Iudin (Russia); Karl Peltzer (South Africa); Chin-Chun Yi (Taiwan); Cigdem Kagitçibasi, Bilge Ataca (Turkey); Wolfgang Friedlmeier, Mihaela Friedlmeier (USA).

Doctoral and Post-doctoral Researchers: Isabelle Albert, Daniela Barni, Kairi Kasearu, Daniela Klaus, Boris Mayer, Franziska Merkel, Beate Schwarz, Shubra Sinha, Jana Suckow

The goal of this project (financed by the German Research Foundation) is to investigate a) characteristics of parent-child relations and "Value of Children" (VOC) in a 3 generations-family design as well as the relationship patterns of b) these characteristics within each generation and c) between these three generations d) in different cultural contexts. Thus, the "Cross-national value of children studies" (VOC Studies, 1970, University of Hawaii, Honolulu) are expanded and modified both methodically as well as theoretically by studying further questions.

Parent-child relations are considered as reciprocal dynamic processes. Their quality depends, inter alia, on the parents' (mothers and grandmothers) own socialization experiences and individual characteristics, and on their (adult or adolescent) children as well as on the cultural contextual conditions. These relations influence in turn the conditions for parent-child relations in the next generation.

The study is conducted in the framework of an interdisciplinary multi-level model which integrates developmental psychological, family sociological, and cross-cultural approaches and thus allows a more comprehensive and differentiated investigation. In the center of interest are questions concerning the value of children and family, parent-child relations and child rearing in three biologically connected generations (grandmothers, daughters, grandchildren). Special attention is paid to the question of what kind of influence the above mentioned factors have on intergenerational support and generative behavior.

The data collection of the main study has now largely been completed. The countries central to the study are PR China, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, and Turkey. Furthermore, collaborators from the Czech Republic, France, Ghana, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and the United States have joined the project. Further collaborations with researchers from Japan, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom are in preparation. So far more than 12,500 participants from 13 countries have been interviewed.

The aim of the project is to contribute to an interdisciplinary analysis of the interrelations between VOC, individual development and parent-child relations in socio-cultural change from a psychological perspective.

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