Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Racial Variations in Mental Health

Jennifer Roebuck Bulanda, Miami University

Over four million children in the United States are being raised by grandparents. Although caring for one’s grandchildren can have benefits for grandparents, it also has potential costs. Previous work has largely failed to investigate whether there are racial differences in the effect of grandparenting on mental health, yet there are good reasons to expect variation. Prior research has documented the prevalence and importance of kin networks and social support for the family life of Blacks, which may ease the burden of grandchild care. However, Blacks have different economic and structural circumstances from Whites, which may impede their ability to care financially for a co-residential grandchild. In this paper, I assess whether there are racial and ethnic variations in the mental health of co-residential grandparents, using data from the Health and Retirement Study.

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Presented in Session 86: Family Dynamics, Intergenerational Relationships, and Health