Publication Date

Summer 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Steve Groce (Director), Amy Krull, Lauren McClain

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


In Vietnam, the number of grandparents who become full -time surrogate parents to their grandchildren has significantly increased. When parenting is left to grandparents, they play the same role as biological parents. They significantly affect the educational functioning, developmental outcomes, and well-being of their grandchildren. Using data from in-depth interviews with 16 participants who are raising their grandchildren, the current study provides insight into children’s education in the grandparents-headed households in Vietnam. The more grandparents are involved in their grandchildren’s educational process, the more likely their grandchildren are to achieve academic success. I have found that there is a strong relationship between grandparents’ age, as well as their perspectives/values on education, and how they engage in children’s academic performance. My study highlights the importance of transmitting cultural and social capital which children primarily absorb in family settings. Sociocultural theory has maintained that custodial grandparents’ cultural and social resources, which they transmit to their grandchildren, significantly affect their educational progress. In Vietnamese grandfamilies, grandparents are not a primary learning resource for their custodial grandchildren. However, they can provide external resources such as the relationship with homeroom teachers and kinship as social capital. The present qualitative study should be seen as laying the groundwork for future research. Social capital theory is recommended as the theoretical framework for future research.


Family, Life Course, and Society