Interactions with older adults and younger generations’ trust at societal and individual level: Long-term orientation and kinship support as the mediators

Jialing MA

Research output: ThesisMaster's Theses

Abstract

Promoting intergenerational interactions can contribute to the welfare of the old and the young in the trend of population aging and family structure changing. However, studies regarding intergenerational interactions and younger generation’s social capitals were overwhelmingly practical-oriented and the definitions of major variables were vague. The current thesis strived to build a theoretical foundation for intergenerational interaction and its impact on younger generations’ trust, a pivotal social capital that enables expectations of other’s benevolent motives in situations with interest conflicts. Older adults’ possession of advanced emotional regulation ability and maintained cognitive capability in specific domains (e.g., semantic memory) implied their functions in social capital accumulation. Considering human beings’ slow life history strategy and postreproductive longevity, it is expected that interactions with older adults are instrumental to younger generations’ trust building at both societal and individual level. Moreover, long-term orientation and kinship support are proposed to mediate the association between interactions with older adults and trust of younger generations. On the one hand, interactions with older adults could help to build younger adults’ awareness of planning for the future as well as valuing the past experience and therefore, contribute to younger generations’ trust. On the other hand, given the rule of kinship selection and the development of social patterns from the interactions within kin groups, older adults may contribute to younger generations’ trust through facilitating kinship support. Accordingly, Study 1 examined the role of long-term orientation in mediating the association of intergenerational interactions and younger generations’ generalized trust at societal level with the aggregated data from World Value Survey, World Bank and Hofstede’s culture index. With the survey of 314 young adults, Study 2 examined the role of both kinship support and long-term orientation in the association of interactions with grandparents and younger adults’ particularized trust to extended family, as well as generalized trust. Results revealed that long-term orientation mainly mediated the association of intergenerational interactions and younger adults’ generalized trust at societal and individual level; kinship support mediated the association of interactions with grandparents and younger adults’ particularized trust to relatives. Moreover, kinship support mediated the association of interactions with grandparents and younger adults’ generalized trust, implying interactions among kin was an underpinning mechanism of trusting people in general, so contributing to the largely unexplored kinship studies in social psychology. These results highlighted older adults’ prominent role in enhancing kinship support in extended family and promoting young people’s holistic time perspective in communities as social capitals. Besides, the quality rather than quantity of interaction with grandparents matters more for young adults, as intimacy was the most effective index of interactions with grandparents. Yet, potential influences of intergenerational interactions on other forms of social capital call for future research, such as older adults’ roles in culture transmission and fictive kinship construction in and beyond family. Finally, based on the evolutionary meaningfulness of slow life history strategy, kinship support and long-term orientation are suggested as specialized strategies developed for social capital accumulation under the influence of intergenerational interactions. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Intergenerational interaction
  • Trust
  • Long-term orientation
  • Kinship support
  • Life history strategy
  • Alt. title: Interactions with older adults and trust in younger generations
  • Alt. title: 與長者互動對青年人信任的影響
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Mphil)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2017.

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