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Intermarriage and Social Support Among Canadians in Middle and Later Life

Authors


  • This article was edited by Deborah S. Carr.

Department of Sociology, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3050 STN CSC, Victoria, British Columbia V8W 3P5, Canada (mpenning@uvic.ca).

Abstract

Despite widespread attention to population aging and contemporary increases in racial intermarriage, little is known regarding their joint implications for social support in middle and later life. Drawing on data from the 2007 General Social Survey conducted by Statistics Canada on intermarried and endogamously married adults age 45 and over (N = 13,238), this study examined the effects of intermarriage on instrumental and emotional support. The results revealed that intermarriage was accompanied by a reduced likelihood of instrumental support with transportation from others outside the household but that it had no impact on the receipt of help with household tasks or in caring for family members and a positive impact on emotional support. These findings suggest that intermarriage is not uniformly positive, neutral, or negative in its implications for social support. Future theoretical and empirical work will need to address the complexities of these relationships in order to enhance our understanding of these emergent family structures.

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