We investigated whether and under what family conditions young adult grandchildren psychologically benefit from having close and supportive grandparent relations. Relying on parental absence and family systems perspectives, we hypothesized that grandparents will be most effective in reducing depressive symptoms and increasing self-esteem of grandchildren who were raised in single-parent and step-parent families, as well as those with poorer quality relations with their parents. We analyzed data from a sample of grandchildren aged 18-23 years who were surveyed in the 1992-1994 wave of the National Survey of Families and Households (n = 925). Hierarchical multiple regressions with interaction terms found that greater cohesion with grandparents decreased depressive symptoms, particularly among grandchildren raised in single-parent families. However, cohesive grandparent relations reduced depressive symptoms more in the presence of stronger ties to parents. The model partially supports the long reach of grandparents as compensatory resources for mature grandchildren whose families of origin were absent a parent. Implications for future research on the role of grandparents in family systems are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)