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Merril Silverstein

Contact Information:


314 Lyman Hall

Merril Silverstein

Professor and Chair, Sociology Department

Professor, Human Development and Family Science, Falk College

Marjorie Cantor Endowed Professor in Aging

Faculty Associate, Aging Studies Institute

Research Affiliate, Center for Policy Research

Research Affiliate, Center for Aging and Policy Studies


SOC 800:   Sociology of the Family  

SOC 664:   Aging & Society  


Highest degree earned

Ph.D., Columbia University, 1990


Merril Silverstein, Ph.D., is inaugural holder of the Marjorie Cantor Chair in Aging Studies at Syracuse University in the Maxwell School's Department of Sociology and in Falk College's Department of Human Development and Family Science.

He received a doctorate in sociology from Columbia University. Published in over 150 research publications, he has focused on aging in the context of family life, with an emphasis on life course and international perspectives. He serves as principal investigator of the Longitudinal Study of Generations and has had projects in China, Sweden, the Netherlands and Israel.

He is a Brookdale Fellow and Fulbright Senior Scholar and between 2010-2014 served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.

Areas of Expertise

Aging, family, intergenerational relationships, demographic, policy and cultural contexts, quantitative methods

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Longitudinal Study of Generations:

The 2016 web-survey of the Longitudinal Study of Generations is now live!  Many thanks to those who are participating in this landmark study.  

Over the years this project has produced many publications, a selection of which I list below from the last 10 years.  Unfortunately, I am not able to share the manuscripts due to copy-right protections exerted by the journals (though many may be available in various data bases), 

Please be reminded of the fact that the time and effort devoted by study participants like you have made these publications possible.

With appreciation.

Merril Silverstein, Ph.D.

Silverstein, M., London, A., & Wilmoth, J. (2017). Values of nationalism-patriotism in World War II veterans and their Baby-boom children.  In Spiro, A. III, Settersten, R. A., Jr., & Aldwin, C. M. (Eds.). Long-term outcomes of military service: Perspectives on health and wellbeing. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press. 

Silverstein, M. (2016). Gender role attitudes in social context: Historical change, generational differences, and family similarity. In S. Walper, V. Wendt, & F. Schmahl (Eds.) Partnership Relations in Context. New York: Springer.

Bengtson, V., Silverstein, M., Putney, N, & Harris, S. (2015). Does religiousness increase with age?  Age changes and generational differences over 35 years. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 54, 363-379.

Hogerbrugge, M.J.A. & Silverstein, M. (2015). Transitions in relationships with older parents: from middle to later years. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 70, 481-495.

Lendon, J., Silverstein, M. & Giarrusso, R. (2014). Ambivalence in older parent-adult child relationships: Mixed feelings, mixed measures.  Journal of Marriage and Family. 76, 272–284.

Lendon, J. & Silverstein, M. (2012).  Gender ideology and life course transitions of Baby Boom women. Advances in Life Course Research, 17, 191–198.

Min, J., Silverstein, M., & Gruenwald, J. (2012).  Intergenerational transmission of values over the family life course.  Advances in Life Course Research, 17, 112–120.

Silverstein, M, Conroy, S. & Gans, D. (2012). Beyond solidarity, reciprocity, and altruism: Moral capital as a unifying concept in intergenerational support for elderly people.  Ageing and Society, 32, 1246-1262.

Fingerman, K., Pillemer, K., Silverstein, M., & Suitor, J. J. (2012). The Baby Boomers' intergenerational relationships. The Gerontologist, 52, 199-209.

Silverstein, M., & Giarrusso, R. (2011). Aging individuals, families, and societies: Micro–meso–macro linkages in the life course. Handbook of the Sociology of Aging.  New York: Springer.

Silverstein, M., Gans, D., Lowenstein, A., Giarrusso R., & Bengtson, V. L. (2010). Older parent-child relationships in six nations: The intersection of affection and conflict.  Journal of Marriage and Family, 72: 1006–1021.

Silverstein, M. & Giarrusso, G. (2010). Aging and family life (Decade Review). Journal of Marriage and Family  72, 1039–1058.

Silverstein M. & Conroy S. (2009). Intergenerational transmission of moral capital across the family life course. In U. Schoenpflug (Ed.) Cultural Transmission, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bengtson, V., Copen, C., Putney, N., & Silverstein, M. (2009). A longitudinal study of the intergenerational transmission of religion. International Sociology, 24, 325.

Bengtson, V. L., Copen, C. E., Putney, N. M. & Silverstein, M. (2008). Religion and intergenerational transmission over time. Pp. 305-333 in K. W. Schaie and R. P. Abeles (Eds.). Social Structures and Aging Individuals: Continuing Challenges. New York: Springer.

Silverstein, M., Conroy, S. & Gans, D. (2007). Commitment to caring: Filial responsibility and the allocation of support by adult children to older mothers. In M. Szinovacz & A. Davey (Eds.) Caregiving: Cultural, Familial, and Societal Contexts. New York, Springer.

Copen, C. and Silverstein, M. (2007). The transmission of religious beliefs across generations: Do grandparents matter? Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 38: 497-510.

Drew, L. and Silverstein, M. (2007) Grandparents’ psychological well-being after loss of contact with their grandchildren. Journal of Family Psychology, 21: 372-379.

Feng, D., Silverstein, M., Giarrusso, R., McArdle, J. J., & Bengtson, V. L. (2006). Attrition of older adults in longitudinal surveys: detection and correction of sample selection bias using multigenerational data. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. 61B: S323-S328.

Gans, D. & Silverstein, M. (2006). Norms of filial responsibility for aging parents across time and generations. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 68, 961-976.

Silverstein, M., Gans, D. & Yang, F. M. (2006). Filial support to aging parents: The role of norms and needs. Journal of Family Issues , 27, 1068-1084.