Should parents financially support their adult children? Normative views in Australia
Springer International Publishing
School of Arts and Humanities
Social welfare policies generally assume that parents remain responsible for adult children. Recent social changes in industrialized nations, however, have rendered family obligation norms more complex. We examined 300 Australians’ norms concerning parents’ obligations to sup- port adult children financially. Utilizing a quasi-experimen- tal design, we investigated the extent to which respondents agreed that parents should support adult children, and the influence of situational factors. More respondents were in favor of assisting adult children than against, but there was no consensus as to what parents should do. Respondents generally agreed on factors that should be considered, then attempted to balance parental responsibility norms with adult independence norms. Parental help was more strongly endorsed when need was considered legitimate, and when the adult child was younger. Implications for Australian social policy are discussed.