Social contact between grandparents and older grandchildren: a three-generation perspective

Katharina Mahne and Oliver Huxhold

in Contemporary grandparenting

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9781847429681
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307624 | DOI:
Social contact between grandparents and older grandchildren: a three-generation perspective

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This study analyzes how often grandparents in Germany interact with their grandchildren aged 16 and over. It takes a three-generation perspective and explores the individual contribution of every generation involved in the association between grandparents and grandchildren (grandparents, children and grandchildren). The analyses are based on cross-sectional data from the German Ageing Survey, a nationally representative survey of the population aged 40 and older. Due to the nested structure of the data, multilevel regression analyses are applied. The results show that characteristics of all three generations have an independent impact on the frequency of contact between grandparents and older grandchildren. Older grandparents, employed grandparents, divorced grandparents and those grandparents who live further away, have less contact. High grandparent role importance is associated with high contact frequency. The role of the middle generation is crucial. Grandparents have less contact with offspring of sons. High contact frequency with children is associated with high contact with grandchildren. Emotional closeness with grandchildren is an important predictor for grandparent-grandchild contact. Moreover, emotionally close relations with grandchildren work as a buffer for negative effects of a son's divorce in the middle generation.

Keywords: Grandparenthood; Social relations; Three-generation perspective; Multilevel analysis; Ageing; German Ageing Survey

Chapter.  8256 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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