Discrepancies in parent's and adult child's reports of support and contact

J. Mandemakers, P.A. Dykstra

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


This study uses data on support and contact in 4,055 parent-child dyads drawn from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study to test explanations of reporting discrepancies, which focus on sources of bias and inaccurate reporting. Contrary to the generational stake hypothesis, parents’ reports are not characterized by a general positive bias. Consistent with notions of self-enhancement, parents and children overreport given help and underreport received help. Parents’ reports are susceptible to positive biases linked with strong feelings of family obligations. Limited evidence is found for an underreporting bias associated with dissatisfaction with support received from family. Positive reporting biases are observed in high-quality relationships. Consistent with expectations, results show greater reporting accuracy among better educated parents and children. Key Words: dyadic/couple data, intergenerational relations, measurement, nonresidential parents, social support, Western European families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-506
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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