Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Research has shown that the number of caregiving grandparents in America has steadily increased. If this trend continues there will be more of a need for society to recognize this population and the difficulties that they face due to the atypical structure of these households. Research has produced mixed results as to what effect raising grandchildren has on grandparent caregivers. Most research has found that raising a grandchild increases stress levels (Bowers & Myers, 1999; Musil 1998; Sands & Goldberg-Glen, 2000). Research has also shown that some caregiving grandparents possess other difficulties such as increased mental and physical health problems (Daly & Glenwick, 2000; Fuller-Thomson & Minkler, 2000; Minkler & Fuller-Thomson, 1999; Minkler, Fuller-Thomson, Miller, & Driver as described in Hayslip & Goldberg-Glen, 2000), decreased role satisfaction (Daly & Glenwick, 2000; Emick & Hayslip, 1999), difficulty managing grandchild behavior (Emick & Hayslip, 1999), and financial strain (Roe & Minkler, 1998/1999). However, not all caregiving grandparents experience significant negative effects. It is unclear to what extent mental and physical health problems, decreased role satisfaction, experiences with grandchild behavior problems, and financial strain specifically contribute to increased stress levels. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how these factors influence caregiving grandparents. Thirty-one custodial grandparents raising grandchildren between the ages of 6 and 18 participated in this study by completing a demographic questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory, Second Edition (BDI-II; Beck, Steer & Brown, 1996), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI; Beck, Epstein, Brown & Steer, 1988), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2000, 2001), the Parent Satisfaction Scale (PSS; Guidubaldi & Cleminshaw, 1985), and the Parenting Stress Index (PSI-III; Abidin, 1995). It was found that the parenting stress level of grandparent caregivers is significantly influenced by child behavior problems and role satisfaction. Of all variables measured, externalizing child behavior problems were found to predict the largest portion of parenting stress. The combination of externalizing child behavior problems, satisfaction with spouse/ex-spouse's parenting performance, and satisfaction with one's own parenting performance produced the overall model of predictors of parenting stress.



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