Todd L. Pittinsky
Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
Upward Advice Transmission in the Family: The Role of Gender in Young Adults Giving Advice to their Parents.
Poon, Bonnie, and Todd L. Pittinsky. "Upward Advice Transmission in the Family: The Role of Gender in Young Adults Giving Advice to their Parents." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP05-012, February 2005.
The flow of advice from parents to their children has been explored by developmental psychologists, producing important insights into child development and parent-child relationships (Barber, 1994; Tucker, Barber, & Eccles, 2001; McDowell, Parke, & Wang, 2003). Interestingly, the flow of advice in the opposite direction, from children to their parents, has not received attention from researchers. This study explores (a) the frequency of upward advice transmission and (b) the type of advice (solicited or unsolicited) that is transmitted. In particular, we look at the effects of gender-parent-gender and child-gender, as well as their interaction-on upward advice giving in family systems. Findings indicate a robust effect of parent-gender; adolescents and young adults gave significantly more advice to their mothers than to their fathers. No child-gender effect was found for frequency of upward advice giving; sons and daughters did not significantly differ in the frequency of advice giving to their parents. A trend approaching significance was found for the interaction of parent-gender and child-gender. Significantly more unsolicited advice was given to parents than solicited advice. No three-way interaction was found between child-gender, parent-gender, and type of advice. Implications of these findings for theories of (1) parent-child relationship, (2) individual development, and (3) the development of upward advice transmission in family systems are discussed.