PARENTING AND CO‐PARENTING OF GRANDCHILDREN: EFFECTS ON GRANDPARENTS' WELL‐BEING AND FAMILY SOLIDARITY

Roseann Giarrusso (Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089‐0191)
Du Feng (Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089‐0191)
Qian‐wei Wang (Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089‐0191)
Merril Silverstein (Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089‐0191)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 1 December 1996

Abstract

Increasing numbers of grandparents are raising their grandchildren because of problems within the parental generation such as drug and alcohol addiction, AIDS, divorce, and unemployment. Yet little is known about how grandparents who “parent” or “co‐parent” then‐grandchildren differ from other grandparents, or the extent to which parenting or co‐parenting grandchildren affects grandparent's psychological, physical, or financial well‐being, or feelings of family solidarity. The purpose of this research is to: (1) compare the characteristics of grandparents who go on to parent or co‐parent their grandchildren to grandparents who do not, and (2) assess the effects of entering the two caregiving arrangements — parenting and co‐parenting — on changes in grandparent's psychological, physical, and financial well‐being, as well as their feelings of family solidarity. The data for this study came from 659 grandparents from the USC Longitudinal Study of Generations (LSG) who participated in at least two consecutive waves of data collection measured at three year intervals between 1985 to 1994: parenting grandparents (N = 12), co‐parenting grandparents (N = 27), and non‐parenting grandparents (N = 620). Analysis of the quantitative data reveals that grandparents who parent or co‐parent their grandchildren tend to be younger and less healthy than non‐parenting grandparents. Contrary to expectation, the data also indicate that there is no statistically significant decline in psychological, physical, or financial well‐being, nor in normative or marital solidarity after grandparents begin to caregive. Although the majority of grandparents show stability or improvement in overall psychological well‐being, some show decline. The qualitative data suggests that the extent to which grandparents can choose their level of involvement in caregiving influences and the age of the grandchild, whether they experience caregiving as positive or negative.

Citation

Giarrusso, R., Feng, D., Wang, Q. and Silverstein, M. (1996), "PARENTING AND CO‐PARENTING OF GRANDCHILDREN: EFFECTS ON GRANDPARENTS' WELL‐BEING AND FAMILY SOLIDARITY", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 16 No. 12, pp. 124-154. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb013288

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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