CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Surveys on mutual help and family solidarity have multiplied in Europe since the beginning of the 1990s. Inspired by classic family surveys, they took social transformations and national issues into account. This article studies nine recent European surveys that address the subject of mutual help. After quickly retracing the evolution of studies on the family, we examine the different problems and objectives carried out by each study, whether it be a study of how couples function, an analysis of the extended family’s role or the problems of aging. Particular attention is paid to the way in which the surveys’ creators constructed indicators and how the concept of aid was perceived. Through the diversity of the indicators and the principal results, we observe the persistence of family relationships in Europe in spite of the major changes in progress. However, although family solidarity still endures, the standards of mutual help dictated in the past have transformed into negotiable standards.

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