Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Mary Kay Lane

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which the frequency of contact, geographic proximity, and the quality of the relationship between elderly women and their most supportive adult child accounted for the degree of social support obtained by these women, and to evaluate the applicability of the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) (Parker, Tupling, & Brown, 1979) as a measure of the affectional and controlling aspects of the relationship between the two populations. One hundred noninstitutional elderly women from the City of Waterloo were interviewed in their homes and were asked to designate their most supportive adult child. Eighty-five of the 100 designated children were interviewed by phone. Five dimensions of social support delineated by Lopata (1978), namely service, financial/advice, socializing, relational sentiments and self-feeling states were the criterion variables. Regression analyses of the motor data yielded no significant predictors of instrumental support. Frequent contact, high affection and low autonomy predicted more socializing support. Affectionate relationships predicted high emotional support. From the child’s perspective, more frequent contact predicted more service support, and frequent contact and the child experiencing more affection significantly predicted high socioeconomical support for the mother. Reciprocity scores were not significant predictors for the mother data and were only relevant for socializing support in the child data. Apart from focusing on the contribution of the three major predictor variables, the results were discussed in terms of the relative value of mother versus child data, the role of reciprocity and the relative value of emotional closeness as a measure of the quality of the relationship.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season