Gifts, Loans and Intergenerational Support for Young Adults

Sue Heath, Emma Calvert

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Young adults in the UK are increasingly dependent on family support to offset the costs of living independently. This article explores these complex intergenerational exchanges from the perspective of a group of single young adults in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties who had been in receipt of various forms of financial and material support from family members since leaving the parental home. We outline the nature of this support and then consider how these forms of assistance are understood by those in receipt of them. We conclude that the co-existence of a sense of both gratitude and discomfort which is often generated by these exchanges is managed but by no means resolved by a blurring of the boundaries between gifts and loans, a set of negotiations which may not even be an option amongst less advantaged young adults. © The Author(s) 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1120-1135
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • gifts
  • housing
  • intergenerational support
  • loans
  • recession
  • young adults


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