Preventive health behaviors among grandmothers raising grandchildren

Lindsey A. Baker, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


We examined differential preventive health behavior among grandmothers who recently began raising a grandchild, grandmothers raising a grandchild for at least 2 years, and grandmothers not raising a grandchild. Methods. Data came from the 2000, 2002, and 2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. We ran multivariate logistic regression models to assess receipt of influenza vaccination, cholesterol screening, monthly breast self-exam, mammography, and Papanicolaou (Pap) tests among grandmothers aged 50 to 75. Results. Grandmothers who recently began raising a grandchild were significantly less likely to report influenza vaccination and cholesterol screening than grandmothers not raising grandchildren, even after we controlled for increased emotional and financial strains within the household. We also observed this association for Pap tests, although this finding was only marginally significant. Grandmothers who had been raising a grandchild for at least 2 years were significantly more likely to report influenza vaccination and monthly breast self-exam than grandmothers not raising grandchildren. Discussion. The enhancement of preventive behavior seen among long-term grandparent caregivers does not fully offset the suppression of preventive behavior during the transition into care; support groups should target a range of interventions toward the promotion of healthy behavior among new grandparent caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S304-S311
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Grandparents raising grandchildren
  • Health and Retirement Study
  • Intergenerational relations
  • Preventive behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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