The purpose of this research is to investigate the structure, antecedents and consequences of the relationships between grandparents and their adolescent/adult grandchildren. Due to dramatic increases in longevity over the last Century, it has become more likely that a parent will eventually become a grandparent and survive long enough to have long-term relationships with grandchildren. Yet, we know relatively little about this important intergenerational adult relationship. The goals of the study can be summarized as follows: l) to identify and describe the range of styles that grandparent-grandchild relationships have in the contemporary family, 2) to examine sources of diversity in grandparent-grandchild relationships, including those related to ethnicity, gender, health and marital status, and the mediating role played by the parental generation, 3) to describe cultural differences in grandparent-grandchild relationships across Mexican-American and Anglo families, 4) to investigate continuity and change in grandparent- grandchild relations over historical time and over the life-cycle, especially change that occurs following the transition of the grandchild to adulthood, and 5) to investigate the consequences of grandparent- grandparent relationships and role salience for the psychological well- being of both generations. This study will analyze data from two family research projects that surveyed members of three generation families over multiple panels, and data from a national survey of intergenerational relations. These projects are: the USC Longitudinal Study of Generations which surveyed respondents over 23 years, and the University of Texas Study of Three Generation Mexican-American Families which surveyed respondents over 11 years. The study will also analyze data from the 1990 AARP Study of Intergenerational Linkages. As a component of the proposed study, grandparents and grandchildren who participated in the 1990 AARP survey will be traced and surveyed again in 1996. This will provide, for the first time, an opportunity to investigate transitions in grandparent-grandchild relations using nationally representative data. Latent class analysis will be used to identify the underlying types of grandparent-grandchild relations, and latent transition analysis will be used to examine changes in relational types over time. The influence of grandparent-grandchild relations on longitudinal changes in psychological well-being will be tested, both as a direct effect, and in conjunction with role salience and acculturation. This research will yield important information about the causes of diversity and change in grandparent- grandchild relationships within Hispanic, non-Hispanic and nationally representative families, and the consequences of these relationship for psychological well-being.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
First Independent Research Support & Transition (FIRST) Awards (R29)
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Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
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University of Southern California
Other Health Professions
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Los Angeles
United States
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Silverstein, M; Angelelli, J J; Parrott, T M (2001) Changing attitudes toward aging policy in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s: a cohort analysis. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 56:S36-43
Silverstein, M; Angelelli, J J (1998) Older parents' expectations of moving closer to their children. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 53:S153-63