Adult Children Who Still Live at Home Make Their Parents’ Lives Miserable, Study Finds


Having adult children live with their parents is a common phenomenon in Asian cultures, even when living abroad.

But while this has worked fairly well for many of the tightly-knit Asian families, the same cannot be said to European families, according to a new study which looked into the impact of the so-called “boomerang generation” on family life in Europe.

The study, called Returns Home by Children and Changes in Parents’ Wellbeing in Europe“, posits that grown-up children who end up returning to the family home after a living away for a period “cause a significant decline in their parents’ quality of life and well-being.”

The research was conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) and based on analysis of longitudinal data from the over-50s in 17 European countries between 2007-2015. 

The findings revealed that intergenerational co-residence is now a growing trend in Europe, while independence among young adults is seeing a dramatic decline — reportedly due to job insecurity and increasing housing costs.

While it noted that the returning adult children can also provide emotional and practical support for older parents, the report highlighted that they can be a “source of conflict and stress in the family home.”

This phenomenon has reportedly resulted in “damaging consequences” for many parents who have been enjoying life away from their adult children. Couples who have developed improved marital relationships or found new hobbies find the offspring’s return as a disruption or “a violation” of what was supposed to be an exciting time for them.

It revealed that about a quarter of young adults in the UK are now living with their parents, the highest recorded since 1996. Such figure is believed to be widespread, as the trend is said to be similar all across Europe.

“Our work shows that in contexts where family orientations and welfare institutions foster individuals’ independence, returns home by adult children have negative implications for parents’ well-being,” Dr. Marco Tosi, one of the authors of the study, was quoted as saying. 

“When children leave the parental home, marital relationships improve and parents find a new equilibrium. They enjoy this stage in life, finding new hobbies and activities. When adult children move back, it is a violation of that equilibrium.”

Published in the latest edition of the journal Social Science & Medicine, the report based its data gathered from France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Poland.

Feature Image via YouTube/MBC Drama

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