Cohort Differences in Grandparents’ Caregiving for Grandchildren: The Mediating Effects of Demands and Availability

Luoman Bao , California State University, Los Angeles
Feinian Chen, University of Maryland

Although grandparents’ caregiving for grandchildren and its implications have received increasing attention in recent decades, much less is known about how the experience of grandchild care has evolved over the history. Taking a cohort perspective, we situate grandparents’ caregiving in the temporal and historical contexts that each cohort lives through, thus delineate the picture of changes in grandparents’ involvement in grandchild care over time. We use eight waves of data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS, 1998-2012) and identify three cohorts among U.S. grandparents: The swing generation, the silent generation, and the baby boomers. We start with examining cohort differences in grandparents’ caregiving. Then we conduct mediating effect analyses on family demands and grandparents’ availability as two explanatory mechanisms of the cohort difference. Finally, we conduct these analyses in racial/ethnic subsamples to determine whether cohort changes in grandchild care and the mediating mechanisms work differently for different racial/ethnic groups.

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 Presented in Session 137. Families and Aging