What does social exchange theory indicate about how we care for aging family members? How does this differ from altruism?

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The social exchange theory on intergenerational support speaks of parent-child relationship over the adult life course. Foremost element of this theory is the notion of giving from parent to child and back when the child gets to be adult. There are two models involved in this theory. …

Introduction

The social exchange theory on intergenerational support speaks of parent-child relationship over the adult life course. Foremost element of this theory is the notion of giving from parent to child and back when the child gets to be adult. There are two models involved in this theory. On the other hand, the second one called insurance policy holds that support received by the child earlier in life is repaid or recovered by the parent under conditions of need. The child's return of support would be proportional to the perceived contributions he received and paid back when the parents are in their greatest need.Altruism, the third model of intergenerational support, relies on pure altruistic feelings that family members have for one another when one needs support. This model holds that the adult child will provide support for his aging parent regardless of how much or how little the parents invested in the child during the earlier years. More support would be given when parents are frail, extremely sick, or extremely old.There is support in literature for all models but the most consistent finding is on the altruistic model because it appeals to greater levels beyond physical and material exchange. Filial love after all cannot be measured and re-payment is not dependent on what one has received before and when -- which were emphasized by the ROI model and that of the Insurance Policy. ...
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