Perceptions of filial responsibilities towards the care needs of elderly parents: gender and cultural cleavages in immigrant families of Maghrebine origins in Italy

Michela Semprebon, Università di Bologna
Marco Albertini, Università di Bologna

Despite increasing academic interest in the analysis of patterns and factors affecting intergenerational solidarity and exchange of instrumental support in Europe, relatively little attention has been paid to the specific configuration of these phenomena among the immigrant population (and, within this group, to differences across cultural and ethnic groups). Additionally, little work has been carried out on the topic, that adopts the point of view of young adults and their feelings of obligations towards the care needs of elderly. The paper aims to provide a contribution in this direction, by analysing the perception of obligations with reference to various forms of support, while looking at the specific characteristics of caregivers (gender, age, age at arrival in the host country, educational level, religion and proximity to parents). In particular, the paper will address the following main question: to what extent do immigrants’ filial obligations and support strategies towards their elderly parents differ from those of Italian natives? It will do so by building on empirical data collected by means of a large survey, that involved the use of the innovative and scarcely used technique of “vignette”. The survey was conducted between November 2015 and June 2015, in Bologna (Italy). The target group were immigrants from three countries: the Maghreb area (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria), China and the Philippines. The preliminary analysis seem to point to no particularly strong gender nor cultural cleavages in our respondents’ perceptions of obligations towards their elderly parents. What seems to distinguish the attitudes and expectations of Maghrebine immigrants, in particular, is a rather strong preference for adopting intergenerational co-residence in order to provide support to frail parents in later life, whereas the possibility of hiring a professional care-giver and/or recurring to institutionalisation is rarely mentioned. This is in stark contrast with the strategies enacted by native population.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session 3