Middle-aged sons' and daughters' resolution of moral conflict with their aging parents

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Linda Wallace Reece (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Rebecca M. Smith

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine how moral conflict is resolved between middle-aged sons and daughters and their aging parents. The theoretical framework for the design and analysis of this study was Gilligan's ethic of care. Gilligan asserted that individuals move through stages of development that range from care for self predominantly, to care for others predominantly, to a more equitable and higher level of caring for self and others equally. The primary research question was concerned with categorizing the types of moral conflicts. A further concern was how and at what level of moral reasoning middle-aged sons and daughters resolved these conflicts. Related factors such as age, income, geographical area, and education were also examined. The data were gathered from 60 middle-aged respondents, 30 men and 30 women, from three geographical areas in the state. Open-ended interviews allowed the participants to describe a moral dilemma they had experienced with their aging parent and to tell how they had resolved the dilemma. Dilemmas were placed into six moral conflict categories: health related issues, unresolved childhood problems, managing affairs, lifestyle differences, childrearing issues, and living arrangements. A 100% agreement was reached between three coders who independently scored statements about resolution of moral conflict from the transcriptions of the interviews. A continuous score on moral reasoning was obtained from this scoring. These data were then classified into one of the five levels of care. The majority of the middle-aged children used the upper levels of care.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1989
Adult children $x Attitudes
Older people $x Family relationships
Middle-aged persons $x Attitudes
Parent and child

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