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Becoming a grandparent and its effect on well-being: the role of order of transitions, time, and gender

Di Gessa, G; Bordone, V; Arpino, B; (2019) Becoming a grandparent and its effect on well-being: the role of order of transitions, time, and gender. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B 10.1093/geronb/gbz135. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Objectives Although the majority of older people are grandparents, little is known on whether and how the transition into grandparenthood affects their well-being. Moreover, evidence on whether the order of the transition, the time since grandchild’s birth, and the socio-demographic characteristics of the offspring modify the grandparental well-being is scarce. Taking into account these factors, our study examines the association between becoming a grandparent and subsequent well-being. Methods Our study is based on grandparents aged 50 and over from waves 4-6 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. Using longitudinal analyses, we investigate associations between becoming a grandparent and subsequent life satisfaction, positive affect, and depression controlling for demographic and socio-economic factors as well as health and well-being at baseline. Furthermore, we explore the role of modifying factors such as whether the grandchild was first-born, the time since transition, and socio-demographic characteristics of the offspring who became a parent. Results Becoming a grandparent has a positive effect on well-being only among women who became grandmothers for the first time and via their daughters. Moreover, this effect is particularly strong in the proximity of the birth of the grandchild. No effects were found among first-time grandfathers. Having an additional grandchild does not affect well-being of grandparents, regardless of the offspring’s characteristics.

Type: Article
Title: Becoming a grandparent and its effect on well-being: the role of order of transitions, time, and gender
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbz135
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz135
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: transition to grandparenthood, life satisfaction, depressive symptoms, longitudinal analyses, Europe
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084520
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