Women are typically studied as daughters, sisters, mothers, or grandmothers. However, many, if not most, women are also aunts. In this study, we offer a preliminary exploration of the meaning of aunts as familial figures. We collected 70 nieces' and nephews' written accounts of their aunts. Thematic analysis of these accounts revealed nine themes, which were divided into two categories. The first category represented the role of the aunt as a teacher, role model, confidante, savvy peer, and second mother. The second category represented the practices of aunting: gifts/treats, maintaining family connections, encouragement, and nonengagement. Our analysis illuminates important aspects of aunts in family schema and kin keeping.
Ellingson, L. L., & Sotirin, P. J. (2006). Exploring young adults’; perspectives on communication with aunts. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23(3), 499–517. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407506064217