Reciprocal Effects of Grandparent and Grandchild Contact Frequency and Closeness Over Time: Grandchildren’s Perspectives

By Mikiyasu Hakoyama and Eileen MaloneBeach.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

With an extended longevity, grandparenthood, especially of older grandchildren, has become increasingly important for many older adults. While numerous studies have examined multiple aspects of and factors associated with grandparenthood, less is known about how grandparent-grandchild (GP-GC) relationships change over time. Therefore, the main purpose of the current study is to examine adult grandchildren’s perspectives of closeness with their grandparents in relation to contact frequency, particularly of reciprocity between the two. An online survey assessed adult grandchildren’s (N = 470) views of their grandparents and of older adults in general retrospectively in three stages (childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood). Path analysis revealed that directional effects between GP-GC contact frequency and relationship closeness reversed its direction as grandchildren grew older. Possible mechanisms of why directional effects between contact frequency and relationship closeness change over time are discussed. Multiple suggestions for grandparents to enhance their relationship with geographically distant grandchildren are discussed.

Keywords: Relationship, Grandchildren, Grandparents, Path Analysis

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 8, Issue 3, December 2014, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 485.385KB).

Dr. Mikiyasu Hakoyama

Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA

Dr. Eileen MaloneBeach

Professor, Human Environmental Studies, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI, USA