Newsletter Subscription

Regular Updates on Parenting, Happy Children & Emotional Intelligence

  • Latest Articles - Raising Children with Emotional Intelligence
  • New Parenting Blogs
  • Parenting Tips for Happy Children
  • Free Online Seminars
  • Popular Parenting Books & Reviews

Subscribe!

Regular Updates on Parenting, Happy Children & Emotional Intelligence

  • Latest Articles - Raising Children with Emotional Intelligence
  • New Parenting Blogs
  • Parenting Tips for Happy Children
  • Free Online Seminars
  • Popular Parenting Books & Reviews

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Unsubscribe

Proudly Supporting

Proudly Supporting

Supporting the Mental Health of Caregiving Grandparents

A study of grandmothers in the United States has revealed that grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren experience more depression and family strain than grandparents who are not primary caregivers.

A growing number of families are now classified as ‘grand-families’ – over six million U.S. households have a grandparent living in the house. And as the mental health of these grandparents affects families’ and children’s wellbeing, it’s important to understand the impact of caregiver responsibilities on grandparents. 

Grandmothers Raising Children Report High Stress

The five-year study examined 240 grandmothers over three time periods. Grandmothers – with an average age of 57.5 years at the start of the study – were asked to report on their physical and mental health, caregiver responsibilities, problems within the family, and their own resourcefulness, such as their behaviour and thought patterns in unpleasant situations. 107 grandmothers were raising grandchildren without parents in the home, 24 were in extended family living situations and 109 were non-caregivers to grandchildren.

The researchers from Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, in Ohio, quote previous studies showing that grandmothers raising grandchildren have more stress and depressive symptoms than those not providing extensive care. This new research looked at whether ‘resourcefulness’ helps to reduce depression, stress of caregiving and internal family problems. External strategies like social support for grandmothers had been  shown to reduce the effects of daily stressors, but less was known about the helpfulness of internal mechanisms like resourcefulness i.e. cognitive behavioural strategies like problem solving, cognitive reframing, and positive self-talk.

Supporting Grandparent’s Mental Resourcefulness

The researchers found no difference in the general levels of resourcefulness between caregiving and non-caregiving grandparents.  However, when grandmothers reported higher levels of resourcefulness as a coping mechanism, they also reported fewer depressive symptoms, and said there was less family strain.

In a 2012 U.S. trial of resourcefulness training delivered to grandmothers, over 90% of them said they would recommend that training to others in the same situation . The authors of this new research therefore recommend that communities consider providing this support for grandparents, and develop a better understanding of the family dynamics in households where a grandparent is a primary carer.

Head researcher and professor of nursing, Dr Carol Musil, said grandmothers are generally open to receiving various forms of help so she expects many would be open to the type of resourcefulness training which has helped to reduce depressive symptoms in previous pilot studies. “They need support from others,” she said, “but the most important thing is to maintain and perhaps develop new cognitive and behavioral skills and approaches for handling some very challenging family issues.”

If you know of any grandparent support programs being run in Australia, please let us know about them in the comments below.

image freedigitalphotos.net