Grandparenthood and Intergenerational Relationships: A Review of the Literature
Clemente Rodrigues, Rogerio
Lopes, Rosa Cristina Correia
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Session presented on: Wednesday, July 24, 2013: Purpose: To review published studies about the role of grandparenthood and the intergenerational relationship in contemporary western society. Methods: As a result of demographic changes, the grandparent/grandchild relationship has the potential for spanning three to four decades of life. As a consequence, grandparenthood and its associated roles and relationships are achieving a growing prominence in contemporary Western society. By this way intergenerational support relationships between grandparents and grandchildren are a reality that can improve the communication among generations. It was realised a literature review using data bases in B-On, Academic Google, and Pub-Med. The search was limited to articles published from 2000-2011 in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish languages. Results: 45 studies were selected from 2710 articles of the Data bases. The main common themes found were: the role of grandparents as a family balance between generations, with interaction patterns of proximity, emotional closeness, and social support; mothers' intergenerational ties across lineage lines appeared to be more influential for grandparent-grandchild relationships than father. Finally, grandparents bring the sense of intergenerational family identity, positively related to well-being of all members. Conclusion: The changes in the family structure and in the family life cycle together with the new roles and functions of each member can be a constrain of the intergeneration relationships, but the new grand-parents role on supporting and taking care of grand- children can improve the communication between generations, bringing the importance of the intergenerational relations in promoting a healthy ageing for the elder's and a healthy development for the younger's.