Next Article in Journal
A Study Regarding the Representation of the Sun in Young Children’s Spontaneous Drawings
Next Article in Special Issue
Social Network Decay as Potential Recovery from Homelessness: A Mixed Methods Study in Housing First Programming
Previous Article in Journal
“At-Risk” or “Socially Deviant”? Conflicting Narratives and Grassroots Organizing of Sex/Entertainment Workers and LGBT Communities in Cambodia
Previous Article in Special Issue
“Strength of Weak Ties,” Neighborhood Ethnic Heterogeneity, and Depressive Symptoms among Adults: A Multilevel Analysis of Korean General Social Survey (KGSS) 2012
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Family Networks and Psychological Well-Being in Midlife

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Department of Sociology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 94;
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 19 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Mental Health)
PDF [307 KB, uploaded 22 August 2017]


Scholarship has highlighted the importance of kin relations for well-being in adulthood. Much focus has been on relationships between spouses and between parents and children. However, limited research has explored the role of adult sibling relationships in well-being, and no studies have made direct comparisons among the effects of tension with these multiple family members. Using data collected from 495 adult children nested within 254 families, we examined the differential impact of tension with mothers, siblings, and spouses on depressive symptoms in midlife. Separate multi-level regression analyses showed that tension with spouses, mothers, and siblings each predicted depressive symptoms. Combined analyses revealed that greater tension with spouses was associated with higher depressive symptoms, but tension with mothers and siblings was not. However, Wald tests comparing the strength of these associations between tension and depressive symptoms indicated that these associations did not significantly vary across family members. Interactions with gender indicated that tension with mothers was more strongly associated with higher depressive symptoms for women than men. These findings highlight the importance of the quality of relationships with family members on individuals’ psychological well-being, and call for researchers to consider multiple ties and gender when examining family relationships and well-being. View Full-Text
Keywords: parent-adult child relations; intergenerational relationships; adult siblings; spousal relations parent-adult child relations; intergenerational relationships; adult siblings; spousal relations

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Gilligan, M.; Suitor, J.J.; Nam, S.; Routh, B.; Rurka, M.; Con, G. Family Networks and Psychological Well-Being in Midlife. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 94.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Soc. Sci. EISSN 2076-0760 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top