Grandparenthood and the Mental Health of Grandparents

Helen Q. Kivnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Although general family involvement is heralded as critically important for the elderly, the importance of the specific family involvement of grandparenthood remains surprisingly little understood. The present study integrates qualitative and quantitative methodologies: II grandparents completed a series of five open-ended interviews, 19 grandparents participated in single open-ended interviews, and 286 grandparents completed lengthy quantitative questionnaires. In contrast to previous studies reporting that there is little relationship between grandparenthood experience and life satisfaction, current findings indicate that grandparenthood serves a compensatory function with respect to life satisfaction and morale, particularly for those individuals who are most deprived and who have fewest sources of satisfaction. Ageing persons seem to use grandparenthood to enhance their mental health; in grandparenting they capitalize on their existing strengths and re-work existing weaknesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-391
Number of pages27
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1981


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