Intergenerational Relations and Social Generativity

This paper considers the concept of active ageing from the perspective of relational sociology. Active ageing is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation, and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. Ageing occurs in a relational network (the family, society), with a whole range of reciprocal mutual interactions (support, care, etc.). Starting from an operationalization of the relational components of the active ageing process, were considered data collected for the Italian survey “I’m Not Retiring: The Lengthening of Life, a Challenge for the Generations, an Opportunity for Society” (N=900). The focus is on a sub-sample of older adults active in various relational networks, such as their families, (grandparents actively looking after their grandchildren; seniors caring for old people, over seventy-five) and seniors engaged in voluntary work. In particular, we investigated the circuit of reciprocity. The empirical evidence suggest a positive association between helping the members of one’s own network and well being. By embracing a intergenerational lens it was possible to grasp the differentiation that characterizes the ageing process, the transformations and standstills of individuals, as well as different orientations and ideas that facilitate or hinder the path to active ageing.

Active ageing, Intergenerational relationships, Family, Pro-social behaviour, Relational sociology

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Prof. Giovanna Rossi
    • Italy Italy
    • Giovanna Rossi teaches Sociology of the Family and Sociology of Services to the Person at the Università Cattolica di Milano. She is the head of The Catholic University Centre for Family Studies and Research and a member of the ESA RN 13 "Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives" board. Together with Prof. Eugenia Scabini, she is a permanent editor of the book series "Interdisciplinary Studies on the Family", Vita&Pensiero, Milano. She has authored a number of publications on the family, social policies, services to the person, as well as family associations and voluntary organizations: Rossi G., Boccacin L., Bramanti D., Meda S.G. (2014) Active Ageing: Intergenerational Relationships and Social Generativity, in Riva G., Marsan P.A., Grassi G. (eds), Active Ageing and Healthy Living, IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp.57-68 Rossi G., Rojas Gutierrez M., Bramanti D. (eds) (2014). Active Ageing: Relazioni intergenerazionali e generatività sociale, Sociologia e Politiche Sociali, FrancoAngeli, Milano