Social Attitudes and Socialization

Articles in this section explore social attitudes toward grandfamilies and their impact on the experiences of both grandparents and their grandchildren. They also discuss the importance of social connection and support for grandfamilies.

1. Doley, Rebekah, Ryan Bell, Bruce Watt, and Hannah Simpson. “Grandparents raising grandchildren: investigating factors associated with distress among custodial grandparents.” Journal of Family Studies 21, no. 2 (2015): 101-119

This study explores the relationship between the psychological health of grandparent caretakers and the social, emotional and behavioral issues of their grandchildren. The study also assesses the relationship between psychological well-being in grandparents and access to informal social support. Results from a sample of 100 grandparents indicated that those caring for grandchildren with emotional and behavioral issues reported greater levels of anxiety, stress and depression. Although grandparents with greater access to informal social support experienced less depression and anxiety, they did not feel it lessened the impact of raising children with multiple issues. The authors then discuss recommendations for intervention-type services to assist grandfamilies.

2. Edwards, Oliver W. “Bullying and Victimization among Children Raised by Grandparents.” GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy 2, no. 2: 4.

This study looks at some of the emotional difficulties of CRBTG (children raised by their grandparents), whose unique familial situation causes them to experience increased bullying by peers and also engage in greater degrees of bullying behavior themselves. The authors suggest a structured home and academic support system that emphasizes social skills and healthy emotional coping methods, as ways to curve both the victimization of and patterns of bullying behavior in CRBTG.

3. Hayslip, Bert, Heidemarie Blumenthal, and Ashley Garner. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 70, no. 5 (2015): 804-812.

This article examines the relationship between social support and overall health of grandparents raising grandchildren. Using results from a 1-year longitudinal study of 86 grandparent participants, the authors found that social support predicted health and study participants cited greater social support also reported greater overall health: including decreases in depressive symptoms and the adverse effects of parental stress.

4. Hayslip, Bert, and Patricia L. Kaminski. “Grandparents raising their grandchildren: A review of the literature and suggestions for practice.”the Gerontologist 45, no. 2 (2005): 262-269.

The study that this article discusses examined several key areas that are important to consider when raising a grandchild, including: (a) the costs and benefits of raising a grandchild; (b) the heterogeneity of custodial grandparent caregivers; (c) the critical need for social support among custodial grandparents; (d) parenting practices and attitudes among grandparents raising grandchildren; and (e) helping efforts at multiple levels with custodial grandparents; and (f) directions for research and practice concerning custodial grandparents.

5. Hicks Patrick, Julie, Allyson Stella Graf, Danielle K. Nadorff, and Bert Hayslip Jr. “Experiences with grandparents and attitudes toward custodial grandparenting.” GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy 2, no. 2: 5.

This article is based on results from a survey study concerning both personal and general attitudes toward custodial grandparenting (e.g. grandparents raising grandchildren). The goal of this article is to assess if and to what extent personal experience and interaction with grandparents influences attitudes toward custodial grandparenting. The authors further investigate the potential influence of attitudes on social behavior and policy makeup.

6. Kondrat, David, Jayme R. Swanke, Kerry Littlewood, and Anne Strozier. “Measuring Social Support among Kinship Caregivers: Confirming the Factor Structure of the Family Support Scale.” Child Welfare 93, no. 3 (2014).

Using The Family Support Scale (FSS) as a tool of measurement, the authors of this article assess the levels of social support among grandfamilies. Furthermore they discuss the importance of kinship caregivers having a supportive social network as it can help them in meeting the complex and stressful demands of caring for kin children, especially for those who are informal caregivers or are outside of the child welfare system.

7. Marken, Dory M., and Jenna B. Howard. “Grandparents raising grandchildren: The influence of a late-life transition on occupational engagement.” Physical & Occupational Therapy In Geriatrics 32, no. 4 (2014): 381-396.

This article focuses on the issue of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren replacing previous participation in social, leisure and physical activities with child-rearing responsibilities. The loss of participation in the aforementioned activities has been linked with decline in physical and mental health. The authors of this article employed a demographic questionnaire to examine activity involvement among grandparents and its effect on mental and physical health. Of the ten grandparents who took part in the study, the authors found that grandfathers retained an appreciably higher level of activity involvement compared to grandmothers and that at least 4 grandmothers cited raising a child as having a negative impact on their physical and emotional wellbeing. Using the results of the study, the authors provide recommendations on how occupational therapists can support grandparents’ re-establishment of leisure, social, and more demanding physical activity to avert functional health decline.