The Impact of a New Grandchild on Grandparents’ Mental Health: Evidence from CHARLS

Jiawei Wu , King's College London
Karen F. Glaser, King's College London
Mauricio Avendano, King's College London / Harvard University

Becoming a grandparent may be both a source of happiness and stress, particularly in China, where custodial grandparenting is common. This paper examines the impact of a new grandchild on grandparents’ mental health in China. We use newly released longitudinal data from CHARLS, a study that follows individuals aged 45 years and older in China. We use individual fixed effect models to control for time-invariant confounding. Preliminary results suggest that a new grandchild leads to a modest reduction in depressive symptoms and a small improvement in cognitive function. However, these effects disappear after controlling for time-changing covariates. Results suggest that the experience of a new grandchild may have weak or no effects on the mental health and cognitive function of older parents.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions