This research proposes a cross-sectional examination of the impact which living with young grandchildren has on the psychological well-being of Black and White grandparents. It would be among the first research studies to explore the role of the grandparent when grandparent and grandchild share a household as well as the effects which variations in the grandparent role have on the psychological well-being of grandparents. Grounded in a theory of family stress, the study would examine the ways in which stressors, resources, and subjective perceptions impact psychological well-being, and the moderating effects which race has on these relationships. Identification of grandparents at risk for psychological problems as well as strategies for intervention which could alleviate or mitigate these problems would result.
The specific aims of the three year study are to: (I) Explore the effects which living with and providing care to young grandchildren have on the psychological well-being of grandparents; (2) Build and test the explanatory power of a model in which stressors, resources, and subjective perceptions predict why some grandparents experience problems with psychological well-being while others thrive; 3) Examine the moderating effects which race (Black, White) has on the relationships between stressors, resources perceptions, and psychological well-being of grandparents, (4) Understand the insight which grandparents have about the personal meaning of their experience as grandparent; and (5) Develop a database of 700 grandparents living with grandchildren for use in future studies of the long term effects of multi-generational living on both grandparents and grandchildren. The design proposes to include 700 grandparents living with at least one elemental school-aged grandchild. Half the sample would be Black, half would be White. Inclusion of an additional sample of 175 grandparents who are not living with grandchildren, selected randomly from lists generated to include eligible people, and matched by variables known to be associated with psychological well-being would provide the ability to directly examine the effects which living with and providing varying levels of assistance to grandchildren have on grandparent's level of psychological well-being.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Boston College
Organized Research Units
Chestnut Hill
United States
Zip Code
Pruchno, Rachel A; McKenney, Dorothy (2002) Psychological well-being of Black and White grandmothers raising grandchildren: examination of a two-factor model. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 57:P444-52
Pruchno, R (1999) Raising grandchildren: the experiences of black and white grandmothers. Gerontologist 39:209-21