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Keywords:

  • collectivism;
  • familism;
  • filial obligations;
  • individualism;
  • intergenerational relationships;
  • public policy

Are older adults responsible for meeting their own needs, is it their children's obligation to care for them, or is there a collective responsibility to see that older adults have their needs met? The purpose of this study was to examine the normative obligations of individuals, family members, and the government to provide for the needs of older adults. The authors examined how ideological beliefs and contextual circumstances are related to beliefs about obligations to older persons. Data were collected from phone interviews of a sample of 270 adults who were over 40 years old. The results indicate that ideological beliefs were better predictors of normative obligations than were contextual variables. Future research should reflect the complex relationships among ideological beliefs, contextual circumstances, and normative obligation beliefs.