Race/Ethnic Differentials in the Health Consequences of Caring for Grandchildren for Grandparents.

TitleRace/Ethnic Differentials in the Health Consequences of Caring for Grandchildren for Grandparents.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsChen, F, Mair, CA, Bao, L, Yang, YClaire
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2015 Sep
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsAged, Black People, Female, Frail Elderly, Health Status, Health Status Disparities, Hispanic or Latino, Humans, Intergenerational Relations, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Parenting, Residence Characteristics, Socioeconomic factors, United States

OBJECTIVES: The phenomenon of grandparents caring for grandchildren is disproportionately observed among different racial/ethnic groups in the United States. This study examines the influence of childcare provision on older adults' health trajectories in the United States with a particular focus on racial/ethnic differentials.

METHOD: Analyzing nationally representative, longitudinal data on grandparents over the age of 50 from the Health and Retirement Study (1998-2010), we conduct growth curve analysis to examine the effect of living arrangements and caregiving intensity on older adults' health trajectories, measured by changing Frailty Index (FI) in race/ethnic subsamples. We use propensity score weighting to address the issue of potential nonrandom selection of grandparents into grandchild care.

RESULTS: We find that some amount of caring for grandchildren is associated with a reduction of frailty for older adults, whereas coresidence with grandchildren results in health deterioration. For non-Hispanic black grandparents, living in a skipped generation household appears to be particularly detrimental to health. We also find that Hispanic grandparents fare better than non-Hispanic black grandparents despite a similar level of caregiving and rate of coresidence. Finally, financial and social resources assist in buffering some of the negative effects of coresidence on health (though this effect also differs by race/ethnicity).

DISCUSSION: Our findings suggest that the health consequences of grandchild care are mixed across different racial/ethnic groups and are further shaped by individual characteristics as well as perhaps cultural context.

User Guide Notes


Endnote Keywords

Caregiving/Grandparents/Health disparities/Race/ethnic differences/family Caregivers/transfers/socioeconomic Differences

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key8157
PubMed ID25481922
PubMed Central IDPMC4635642
Grant ListR24-HD041041 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
K01 AG036745 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R24 HD041041 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R03 HD068453 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R24 HD050924 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States