Intergenerational financial transfers and mental health: an analysis using SHARE-Israel data

Aging Ment Health. 2010 Mar;14(2):203-10. doi: 10.1080/13607860903191366.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between financial transfers from older parents to their adult children and mental health among the parents. The analysis examined the act of transfer-giving, the extent of transfers given and the purpose of the transfer in relation to depressive symptoms.

Method: This study was a secondary analysis of data gathered in the first wave of the Israeli component of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The analysis focused upon persons from the majority Jewish elderly cohort, aged 50 years and older, who had living children (N = 1795). Respondents' scores on the Euro-D Depression Scale were regressed on the three financial transfer measures, controlling for age, gender, marital status, household income, health and functional status.

Results: The findings demonstrate a significant inverse relationship between the giving of financial transfers and the number of depressive symptoms of the giver, above and beyond the effects of gender, marital status, income, health status and functional status. The extent of giving was positively related.

Conclusion: The findings support a positive association between acceptable levels of financial giving in late life and mental health. This association is explained as the result of altruistic motivations for giving. Maintenance of viable levels of income security for the older population and promotion of acceptable intergenerational transfers from them to their adult children will benefit both sides of the generational divide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / ethnology*
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Altruism
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Israel
  • Jews / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Social Class
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors