Adult Children’s Contacts with Mother in Cross-National Perspective: Does Technology Matter?

Zoya Gubernskaya, University of California, Irvine
Judith Treas, University of California, Irvine

Using a large representative sample, this paper analyzes the frequency of adult children's visits and contacts with mothers in 24 countries, and formally tests whether the macro-level factors, specifically – affluence, culture, and technology – help explain the cross-national variations in maternal contacts. Consistent with the previous research, adults who are female, young, with fewer siblings, better educated, religious, reside in close proximity to mother, and hold positive attitudes toward parental support tend to visit and contact their mothers more frequently. The measures of familism are important country-level predictors of the frequency of visits but not other contacts, for which GDP per capita and the number of mobile phone subscriptions are much stronger predictors. The results suggest that the increase in other contacts with mother found in the previous studies is driven not so much by changes in attitudes but rather by rapid development and proliferation of new communication technologies.

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Presented in Poster Session 7