Older adults’ relationships with their children are often a source of reciprocal emotional and instrumental support, but also of strain. Cynical hostility is a cognitive schema, according to which people cannot be trusted. Previous studies showed that cynical hostility has adverse implications for social relationships. Little is known about the possible outcomes of parental cynical hostility on older adults’ relationships with their children. Two waves of the Health and Retirement Study and Actor–Partner Interdependence Models were used to examine the way spouses’ cynical hostility at Time 1 is associated with their own and their spouse’s relationship with the children at Time 2. Both partners’ cynical hostility predicts his or her own strain in the relationship with the children, and for husbands, their spouse’s cynical hostility also predicts strain. For husbands only, their own cynical hostility is associated with reduced perceived support from their children. Finally, a husband’s cynical hostility is associated with both partners’ reduced contact with their children. These findings illuminate the social and familial costs of cynical hostility in old age, suggesting that older adults with higher levels of cynical hostility may be more susceptible to strained relationships with their children.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: The HRS (Health and Retirement Study) is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (grant number NIA U01AG009740) and is conducted by the University of Michigan.
© 2023 by the author.
- cynical hostility
- intergenerational relationships
- older parents
- social relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Leadership and Management
- Health Policy
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management