Step-grandparenthood in the United States.

TitleStep-grandparenthood in the United States.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsYahirun, JJ, Park, SS, Seltzer, JA
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences
Date Published08/2018
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsAdult children, Family Roles/Relationships, Grandparents

Objectives: This study provides new information about the demography of step-grandparenthood in the United States. Specifically, we examine the prevalence of step-grandparenthood across birth cohorts and for socioeconomic and racial/ethnic groups. We also examine lifetime exposure to the step-grandparent role.

Methods: Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the Health and Retirement Study, we use percentages to provide first estimates of step-grandparenthood and to describe demographic and socioeconomic variation in who is a step-grandparent. We use life tables to estimate the exposure to step-grandparenthood.

Results: The share of step-grandparents is increasing across birth cohorts. However, individuals without a college education and non-Whites are more likely to become step-grandparents. Exposure to the step-grandparent role accounts for approximately 15% of total grandparent years at age 65 for women and men.

Discussion: A growing body of research finds that grandparents are increasingly instrumental in the lives of younger generations. However, the majority of this work assumes that these ties are biological, with little attention paid to the role of family complexity across three generations. Understanding the demographics of step-grandparenthood sheds light on the family experiences of an overlooked, but growing segment of the older adult population in the United States.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key9515
PubMed ID29361076
PubMed Central IDPMC6093390
Grant ListP01 AG029409 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P2C HD041022 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG033533 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
T32 HD007081 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States