Stress, anxiety and depression among custodial grandparents
New research published in Journal of Family Studies this month reveals that grandparents who care for grandchildren with abnormal emotional and hyperactive symptoms are more likely to experience lower levels of life satisfaction.
The study also suggests that there are implications for their grandchildren, with children involved in this parenting arrangement showing a greater frequency of emotional and behavioural problems than the normative population.
The study examined a sample of 100 grandparents with an average age of 63.14 who cared for a mean of 1.61 grandchildren, with an average age of 9.48 years-old. The research was conducted through a series of questionnaires and surveys. Participants completed the child mental health measures for each of their grandchildren.
A negative relationship was also found between the availability of social support for grandparents and reported feelings of stress, anxiousness and depression. The authors of the research comment that such a relationship 'is especially profound in light of evidence that custodial grandparents commonly report social isolation and peer alienation associated with acting as a parent to their grandchild'.
The research has profound implications for practitioners looking to work with this parent group.