The responsibility continuum: Never primary, coresident and caregiver - Heterogeneity in the African-American grandmother experience

Rosalyn D. Lee, Margaret E. Ensminger, Thomas A. LaVeist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines diversity among 542 African-American grandmothers from the Woodlawn Longitudinal Study. Women were categorized on the basis of their household composition, degree of care provided to grandchildren, and status of primary caregiver to grandchildren during lifetime. Overall, 67.7% of the sample engaged in parenting and exchange behaviors at high or moderate levels. Twenty-seven percent of the sample coresided with and provided care to grandchildren, 28% did not coreside but had been primary caregivers in the past, and 45% did not coreside and had never been primarily responsible for a grandchild. Heterogeneity was found among seven grandmother types on economic measures, life events, and grandchild characteristics. Grandmothers with earlier primary responsibility and those currently in homes of three or more generations were associated with poor outcomes. Policy and practice can be informed by additional research on status, context, and timing of assumption of responsibilities for grandchildren.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-304
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Volume60
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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