Grandparent Caregivers Societal Antecedents As Dissertation

Length: 100 pages Sources: 30 Subject: Children Type: Dissertation Paper: #64407974 Related Topics: Caregivers, Parental Responsibility, Perseverance, Biopsychosocial Model
Excerpt from Dissertation :

It is not always easy to keep childcare arrangements running smoothly and problems may arise from time to time. .

In addition to these stresses, familial stresses might occur. For instance, Grandparents and parents may have different views about raising children. Parents' expectations of grandparents may exceed their resources. Grandchildren may not always obey or comply with grandparents' rules. Grandparents may not like the role of strict disciplinarian when discipline is required. Differing opinions regarding discipline may cause friction between the parents and grandparents. These stresses can affect the children and their ability to adjust to the new situation. Familial stresses make the adjustment difficult for everyone. Familial problems are oftentimes difficult to resolve.

As the number of aging grandmothers who are experiencing the adversity stemming from assuming primary parental roles continues to increase, resilience in this population has become an area of academic importance. How well grandmothers cope with the stress of their added caregiving or parenting responsibilities and their need for social support is suspected to be related to how well they use their psychological and physical capacity to overcome adversity. Past clinical research studies explored resiliency in grandparent caregivers. These studies used a number of research instruments. Caregiver burden instruments, studied responses of custodial grandparents and highlighted the negative impact of parenting responsibilities on the ageing population (Dowdell, 1995; Joslin & Brouard, 1994; Kelley, 1993; Minkler, Roe, & Price, 1992). It was found that many studies made the assumption that caring for a disabled relative was similar to caring for grandchildren. However, this is an erroneous assumption and the two roles are quite different in many respects (Burton, 1992; Strawbridge, Wallhagen, Shema, & Kaplan, 1997), Therefore, studies that involve grandparents caring for disabled relatives cannot be extrapolated into the study population.

A high number of African-American grandparents assume the role of childcare giver (Ross & Aday, 2006). These grandparents share living quarters with their grandchildren. It is assumed that the large number of grandchildren reported in the Census 2000, being raised solely by grandparents without parental involvement, might have been under-reported. Grandparents often do not reveal that although one or both parents "live" in the home, they are seldom there and play little or no role in parenting (Hackworth, 1998; Butler & Zakari, 2005). Grandparents sometimes find themselves back in the role of parenting their adult children and their grandchildren at the same time.

Grandparents who live in a separate residence from the grandchildren's home have reported having regular contact with their grandchildren, including occasional babysitting or childcare (Musil & Standing, 2005). According to Baydar and Brooks-Gunn (1998), the 1987 -- 88 data from the National Survey of Families and Households revealed that 43% of grandparents provided childcare for their grandchildren at least once a month. Similarly, Bass and Caro's (1996) research found that 32% of grandparents provided care for a grandchild, at least one hour a week. Of those grandparents providing care, 13.6 hours constituted the average time per week devoted to caring for a grandchild (Bass & Caro, 1996). National data indicates that grandparent caregivers are often women (77%; Fuller-Thomson & Driver, 1997; Engstrom, 2008), suggesting that grandmothers are more likely than grandfathers to be grandparent caregivers. Custodial grandparents are more likely to be African-American than noncustodial grandparents (Fuller-Thomson et al., 1997).

Research indicates that the number of grandparents who provide some level of caregiving for their grandchildren represents a major portion of the population. Understanding how these grandparents cope will play and important role in developing programs to help those grandparents who have not been able to cope with the stresses of their newly defined role. This research will play an important role in helping researchers, clinicians, and those cast into the role of grandparent caregiver to understand how to develop better programs for helping the grandparent caregiver adjust to their daily stresses associated with the parenting role.

Problem Statement

Since 1990, the number of grandparents that have accepted childcare or primary parental responsibility because...


The literature presents the causes or societal antecedents, which lead to grandparents becoming custodial parents (Hayslip, Shore, Henderson, Lambert, 1998; Ross & Aday, 2006). As previously stated, these societal antecedents include child abandonment and/or neglect, parental employment obligations, parental education endeavors, and parental military obligations. These issues have caused many grandparents to become temporary or permanent caregivers of their grandchildren. This responsibility can require a long-range care strategy and grandparents may need a high level of resilience and particular coping strategies to sustain them as they meet the increased demands at this time in their lives. This study will address the problem of how these grandparents develop resiliency and coping strategies.

No one knows exactly how many grandparents provide childcare for their grandchildren. However, previous research studies can provide us with a few clues. However, as discussed earlier the numbers are staggering and growing continually. Hirshorn (1998) points out, such activities as routinely getting young children ready for school in the mornings, providing full-time childcare for pre-schoolers, or serving as a custodial parent to children whose parents are unwilling or unable to provide care take the grandparent out of traditional older-generation roles and into roles typically assumed by a child's parents. They take on a role that is typically for someone younger than themselves.

Thompson and Minkler, (2001), conducted a study that provided a profile of American grandparents who are in the role of providing extensive secondary childcare to their grandchildren. The study compared and contrasted this population group with those who are not providing such care along a variety of social and demographic dimensions. In another study, secondary analysis of 3,260 grandparent respondents in the 1992-94 National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) was conducted. The study compared several different grandparent-caregiver scenarios. They are: (1) custodial caregivers (grandparents with primary responsibility for raising a grandchild for 6 + months), (2) extensive caregivers (grandparents who reported providing at least 30 hours of child care a week and/or cared for at least 90 nights per year, (3) intermediate caregivers (grandparents providing child care for 10-29 hours a week and/or had their grandchild stay overnight without his or her parents for 7 to 89 nights), (4) occasional caregivers (grandparents providing between 1 and 9 hours of child care in an average week and/or had a grandchild stay overnight without his or her parents 1 -- 6 days in the past year, and (5) non-caregivers (grandparents providing no babysitting during an average week and, in the past year, had not had a grandchild stay overnight without his or her parents (Thompson & Minkler, 2001). The results of the study demonstrate that close to 7% of all grandparents provided extensive caregiving, as did 14.9% of those who had provided any grandchild care in the last month. Extensive caregivers most closely resembled custodial caregivers and had least in common with those grandparents who never provided childcare (Thompson & Minkler, 2001). The role of grandparent-caregiver differs and has a significant impact on the need to define these roles more closely, as well as the affects that they have on the lives of grandparents and their older years.

There was a relatively small amount of research on resilience found in the nursing literature. Since the mid to late 1980s, nursing's major contribution to understanding resilience has been in the context of health, rather than coping skills (Peterson & Bredow, 2004). The Committee on Future Direction for Behavioral and Social Sciences, recently recognized resilience as a research priority for the National Institutes of Health (Singer, 2001; Peterson & Bredow, 2004). Historically, resilience was frequently studied in children and adolescents and characterized by attributes that usually were identified as positive. Recent studies on resilience in adults that were found in nursing literature, have centered on traits of resilience in older women. This population is beginning to receive the academic attention that it deserves.

Studies, especially those that view resilience as a trait, indicate it is difficult to discern the role and order of resilience-related concepts, such as coping, hope, or mastery (Peterson & Bredow, 2004). These concepts have alternatively been viewed as antecedent and protective factors or as outcomes of resilience (Petersen & Bredow, 2004). However, a limited number of nursing studies have explored the impact of societal antecedents on resilience, coping skills, and stress manifestation in custodial and non-custodial grandparents (Kadner, 1989; Haase, 2004). This study will address the problem of determining the impact of societal antecedents on resilience, coping skills, and the manifestation of stress in custodial and non-custodial parents.


The purpose of this predictive correlational study is to examine the relationship between societal antecedents such as child abandonment and/or neglect, parental employment obligations, parental education endeavors, and parental military obligations, coping strategies, and resilience in custodial grandparents and non-custodial grandparents. The purpose of the study will be to fill in gaps in knowledge regarding resiliency and coping skills in both custodial and…

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