Demographic trends in the U.S. have produced an unprecedented number of grandparents who live long enough to see their grandchildren reach young adulthood and even middle age. In this analysis, data from the Longitudinal Study of Generations are used to identify patterns of change in grandparents' perceptions of affection and in-person contact and geographic proximity with adult grandchildren over five points of measurement between 1971 and 1994. Hierarchical linear modeling reveals quadratic trends in both growth curves. Affection declines over the first 14 years and then modestly reverses. Contact and proximity decline at an accelerating rate. Older grandparents have higher average levels of affection than younger grandparents, but they exhibit sharper rates of decline in contact and proximity over time. When cohorts are equated on age, later cohorts of grandparents decline more rapidly in contact and proximity, suggesting that the grandparent role has changed in recent history.
- Intergenerational relations
- Life course
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)