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Living Away from Parents When You Are a Young Adult: What Effect on the Bond of Confidence?

Gil Viry, Éva Nada

In this article, we analyze to what extent young people mention less their parents as important discussion partners when they live away from them. Using a representative sample of young people aged 18-34 living in Switzerland, we show that, overall, young people living away from their parents are not less likely to confide in them. However, parent-child relationships vary strongly with distance in the case of young mothers. For a young woman, having a child increases the likelihood of citing her mother or father as a confidant if parents live close by, and decreases this likelihood if parents live away. Moreover, young mothers geographically distanced from their parents do not find elsewhere the emotional support that they usually receive when they live in close proximity to their parents. Associated with specific family events, geographic distance therefore contributes to reconfiguring relational dynamics and worsening gender inequalities within families. This study points out that spatial mobility and geographic distance should receive more attention in research on families and intergenerational relations.