Grandparent Caregivers Societal Antecedents as Predictors Dissertation

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Grandparent Caregivers

Societal Antecedents as Predictors of Resilience, Caregiving/Parenting Stress and Coping Strategies in Custodial and Non-Custodial Grandmothers of African-American or African Decent

The past three decades have seen a break from the traditional nuclear family roles. During this time, society has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of children being raised by their grandparents. Many grandparents assume the role of primary caregiver for their grandchildren and/or childcare provider because of the impact of numerous societal antecedents which cause the parent or parents to be absent from the home. These societal antecedents include child abandonment, and/or neglect, parental employment obligations, parental education endeavors, and parental military obligations. These represent the key reasons for grandparents assuming the care of grandchildren. This comes at a time of life when they might have dreams of a more leisurely life with fewer responsibilities, but they find themselves once again, as primary caregivers of children. According to Ross and Aday (2006), many of the grandparents that assume the role of custodial grandparent or childcare provider are women of African decent.

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The purpose of this predictive correlational study was to examine the relationship among societal antecedents (child abandonment and/or neglect, parental employment obligations, parental education endeavors, and parental military obligations), coping skills, and resilience in custodial grandparents. Custodial grandparents are defined as those providing shelter and primary care of the grandchild. It also includes non-custodial grandparents or occasional caregivers, grandparents who do not have primary responsibility of their grandchild but provide temporary childcare (8 -- 30 or more hours a week). A convenience sample consisting of custodial and non-custodial grandmothers, of African decent, in three Louisiana parishes were recruited as participants.

Four instruments were used to measure the variables under study:

TOPIC: Dissertation on Grandparent Caregivers Societal Antecedents as Predictors of Assignment

Grandmother's Demographic Data Profile, The Parenting Stress Index, The Resilience Scale (RS-14), and Ways of Coping Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used for each variable in an effort to organize and examine the data from various viewpoints. Statistical methods of analysis included hypothesis testing (Z test) and multiple regression analysis. The IBM SPSS 18 (Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences) statistical package was used for all data analysis.

That study is important, as understanding the impact that the mentioned societal antecedents (child abandonment and/or neglect, parental employment obligations, parental education endeavors, and parental military obligations), have on the grandmothers' resilience, coping strategies and stress manifestation will provide nurses with the necessary information for developing appropriate educational and nursing interventions. This will help to decrease risks associated with the unanticipated role of parenting or caregiving of a grandchild on African-American grandmothers. This research will add to the body of knowledge on resilience and the coping skills utilized by grandmothers of African decent who are primary care providers of their grandchildren. The study will also address whether societal antecedents are predictors of the grandparent's resilience and their capacity for coping and handling stress associated with those responsibilities. The results of this research will broaden the scope of holistic nursing care to grandparents who provide childcare for their grandchildren and will allow them to help Grandparents build better coping skills in light of their new family responsibilities. .



According to a survey by the American Association of Retired Persons, (AARP), 31% of adults in the United States are grandparents (Stritof & Stritof, 2009). Of that number, 8% are providing day care on a regular basis, and 3% are rearing a grandchild (Stritof & Stritof, 2009). Two and a half million grandparent-caregivers are primarily responsible for the basic care of one or more of their co-resident grandchildren (American Community Survey, U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2007). These grandparents represent about 40% of all grandparents whose grandchildren live with them (American Community Survey, U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2007). The 2008 United State Census reports the number of children living with a grandparent in 2008 as 6.6 million. These children comprise 9% of all children in the United States (Families and Living Arrangements: 2008). This is a significant of the total number of children residing with their grandparents rather than their natural parents.

When compared with other states, Louisiana ranks as the state with the fourth largest percentage of children living with grandchildren in the country ( In addition, according to the United States Census Bureau, 67,058 grandparents in Louisiana report they were responsible for their grandchildren who are currently living with them. Of these, 57% are African-American, 2% are Hispanic/Latino, and 38% are white. A large percentage, (34%) of grandparents caring for their grandchildren, in Louisiana, are doing it without the children's parents present (; Additionally studies confirm that 72% of the grandparent-caregivers are under the age of 60; and 30% live in poverty ( This places a significant hardship on the grandparents.

The situations under which grandparent-caregivers care for their children are differ and many different family scenarios exist. Many grandmothers assist their own children in caring for their grandchildren. One example is noncustodial grandmothers who help to ease the financial burden of childcare of the parents, many grandmothers care for grandchildren while parents are at work. Grandmothers might also care for grandchildren in the evenings and on weekends, allowing the parents to run errands or go to the movies. Parents benefit by knowing that their children are in loving hands, and grandparents reap the benefits additional closeness with their grandchildren, which they might not have had otherwise. The United States Census Bureau reports that grandparents provide childcare for almost a quarter (23%) of children under the age of five (AARP, 2006). Nearly 30% of these children are reported to have been cared for on a regular basis by a grandparent while their mother worked outside of the home during 2005. The number of children cited by the United States Census Bureau is even higher for young children who live only with their fathers. Of these children, grandparents provide childcare for more than a third (34%). Noncustodial grandparents are not technically raising their grandchildren, but they are doing important childrearing work. Grandparents are one of the most frequent sources of childcare provision by relatives when mother and/or fathers work.

The phenomenon of custodial grandparents has become a common occurrence across many different racial and economic groups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the grandparent household are broken into racial groups. Of these grandparent households, 1.7% are American Indian or Alaskan Native; 2.8% are Asian; 15.6% are Hispanic/Latino; 36.3% of these grandparents are African-American; and 40.9% are white (U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2008. Internet Release Date: January 2009. Studies also have suggested that African-Americans have a high likelihood of being grandchild caregivers just under white grandparents. Nearly 77% of them are women (Fuller-Thompson, Minkler & Driver, 1997). In addition to their increased likelihood of becoming grandparent caregivers, they are more likely to provide extensive care to their grandchildren. African-American grandmothers are likely to provide extensive, rather than occasional care 9.2% of the time, while white grandparents are likely to provide extensive care 2.3% of the time (Prunchno, 1999). Extensive care is defined as more than 30 hours of care per week or more than 90 nights per year (Minkler & Fuller-Thompson, 2001). This means that African-American grandparents are involved to a greater extent in the parenting role than other races.

The importance of understanding the role of the grandparent as a caregiver for their grandchildren cannot be overemphasized. The last three decades has seen a dramatic increase in the number of children who are being raised by their grandparents, either as custodial caregivers, or as noncustodial caregivers. The type of role that they are asked to play varies according to the situation, Many grandparents assume the role of primary caregiver for their grandchildren and/or childcare provider because of the impact of societal antecedents, which cause the parent or parents to be absent. These reason include child abandonment, and/or neglect (Minkler, Roe, & Price, 1992; Seamon, 1992), parental employment obligations, parental education endeavors, and parental military obligations. Becoming the care provider of grandchildren poses a challenge for grandparents today. Making the decision to help with the day-to-day needs of their grandchild whether for a few hours a day or on a more permanent basis is a life-changing decision for everyone involved. It means that these grandparents must dedicate their life to raising a child at a time when they might have dreams of a more leisurely life with fewer responsibilities (Minkler & Roe, 1993).

Although assuming the unexpected role of parenting or caring for grandchildren is stressful, many grandparents placed in this position demonstrate resilience in meeting the daily needs of the children and themselves (Burton, 1996). Grandparents placed in the caregiver role are under many different stresses. There are changes resulting from the natural aging process, economic stress, and societal stress. They also face many psychological, social and personal challenges. Aside from these stresses, simply watching children can be stressful, especially for grandparents who work other jobs. In keeping childcare arrangements, working grandparent caregivers face many of the same challenges as the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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