Guided by modernization theory and an intergenerational solidarity perspective, this study evaluated the differences in patterns of contact with non‐coresident parents and parents‐in‐law in Korea at two time points 10 years apart and explored how these contact patterns were associated with gender and marital satisfaction.
Family relationships traditionally governed by Confucian patrilineal norms have been evolving into more egalitarian and bilateral patterns in contemporary Korea.
Data from the 2006 and 2016 Korean General Social Survey were examined. Analytic samples consisted of married respondents with at least one parent and one parent‐in‐law alive and no parent or parent‐in‐law coresiding with the respondents (2006, N = 493; 2016, N = 195). Chi‐square tests and ordinary least squares regression models evaluated associations.
The findings overall revealed increased movement toward more egalitarian and bilateral intergenerational kin relationships over time, particularly among women. Equal face‐to‐face and phone contact with both sets of parents in 2006 and 2016 as well as more contact with in‐laws in 2006 were linked to better marital satisfaction. More phone contact with in‐laws, compared with equal contact, was associated with lower marital satisfaction among men in 2006, but not in 2016.
The most happily married men and women in Korea might be those who find a way to adapt to changing kinship norms by simultaneously equally meeting their parents’ and parents‐in‐law’s needs for solidarity.