Dimensions of grandparenthood meaning: Deductive conceptualization and empirical derivation

Helen Q. Kivnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Discusses the development of a multidimensional conceptualization of grandparenthood meaning. On the basis of an initially deductive conceptualization, data were collected in a life-history study involving semi-structured interviews with 6 grandmothers and 5 grandfathers (aged 53-84 yrs) and in a quantitative study involving questionnaires administered to 286 40-90 yr old grandparents. Analysis of these data yielded 5 dimensions of grandparenthood meaning: (a) Centrality--grandparenthood as central to grandparents' lives; (b) Valued Elder--passing on tradition and being valued in that role; (c) Immortality through Clan--patriarchal or matriarchal responsibility, identification with grandchildren, and family immortality; (d) Reinvolvement with Personal Past--grandparents' reliving their own earlier lives and identifying with their own grandparents; and (e) Indulgence--attitudes of lenience and indulgence toward grandchildren. As part of a larger study, these dimensions provided a conceptually and analytically useful basis for subsequent consideration of the impact of grandparenthood throughout the life cycle and for the evaluation of the connections between grandparenthood and mental health. (24 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1056-1068
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1983


  • multidimensional conceptualization, grandparenthood meaning, 40-90 yr old grandparents


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