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Using data from a representative sample of middle-aged married persons, we compare men's and women's contact and assistance to older parents-in-law and parents. Women have more visits and phone contact with their parents than do men, and men talk on the phone more with their in-laws than do women. There are no gender differences in assistance patterns. Multivariate analysis shows that women contact and help parents more than in-laws, whereas for men there are no such differences. There is little direct evidence that the presence of one set of parents affects relations with the other. Our findings suggest that although women clearly give priority to relations with their own parents, men experience pulls in both directions.



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