Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Daniel Russell

Second Advisor

Amelia Karraker


This dissertation examines inter-generational families in the contemporary Korean cultural context and their connections with health and well-being. The dissertation is comprised of two studies. The first study investigates the changes in patriarchal kinship structure centered on the eldest son across periods and cohorts. The second study explores the association between caring for grandchildren and grandparents’ health over time.

Using the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA), the first study compares parent-child co-residence in the Korean War after Liberation Day (KWALD) cohort born between 1945 and 1953 and the Korean Baby Boomer (KBB) cohort born between 1954 and 1962 at Waves 1 (in 2006) and 5 (in 2014). The results show that parent–child co-residence is predicted by the oldest son status, and suggests that the patriarchal family norm has been maintained. One notable finding is that the effect of the oldest son status on co-residence with parents in the KBB cohort varies over time. In other words, in the younger cohort, the family structure based on the oldest son status has been weakened.

In the second study, using latent class analysis grandparents who are the KLoSA respondents at Waves 1-5 are classified into four groups according to the transition and duration of caring for grandchildren: continuous grandchild care (labeled continuous care), initiated grandchild care (labeled started care), ended grandchild care (labeled stopped care) and did not engage in grandchild care (labeled no care). Using growth curve modeling analysis the differences in initial physical and mental health of grandparents and changes over time were analyzed. The main results of the second study are that the initial physical and mental health of the grandparents were different among the grandchild care classes, but there was little difference in the changes in health over time between the classes. However, grandparents with a lower degree of physical pain were more likely to begin grandchild care, and grandparents who experienced increased pain over time were more likely to stop caring for their grandchildren. In addition, the subjective health of grandparents who continuously have taken care of their grandchildren improved when they stopped caring for their grandchild.

This dissertation is significant in that it contributes to an emerging body of research on intergenerational family dynamics and the influence of family relationships on health in later life in an Asian country. The results of the two studies indicate the importance of middle-aged and older adults in Korea who play a pivotal role in the family as caregivers for both older and younger family members.


Copyright Owner

Jaeeon Yoo



File Format


File Size

79 pages