Intermarriage and Social Support in Middle and Later Life

Margaret J. Penning, University of Victoria
Zheng Wu, University of Victoria

Despite widespread attention to population aging and contemporary increases in intermarriage, little is known regarding the implications of intermarriage for social support in middle and later life. Drawing on data from the 2007 General Social Survey (GSS-21) conducted by Statistics Canada on intermarried and endogamously married adults aged 45 and over (N = 12,345), this study examined the effects of intermarriage on the receipt of instrumental and emotional support. Results, generated by two simultaneous probit models, revealed that while intermarriage was accompanied by a reduced likelihood of instrumental support from others outside the household, this was not the case when it came to emotional support. The findings indicate that intermarriage is not uniformly positive, neutral, or negative in its implications for social support. Future theoretical and empirical work will need to address the complexities of these and other relationships in order to enhance our understanding of these emergent family structures.

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Presented in Session 67: Intermarriage