Explaining Mothers' Ambivalence Toward Their Adult Children



Interest in applying the concept of ambivalence to the study of intergenerational relations has increased in recent years. However, few empirical studies of this issue have been conducted. Using data from a study of 189 mothers aged 60 and over, the authors examine sources of ambivalence regarding the quality of their relationships with adult children. They hypothesized that adult children's failure to achieve and maintain normative adult statuses and financial independence and mother's developmental stage will predict ambivalent assessments of the relationship. Regression analyses supported these hypotheses and also revealed that the variables predicting ambivalence differed from those that predicted closeness and interpersonal stress.