Grandmothers, Caregiving, and Transitions

The Grandmother Study: Part II

Grandmother Study
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Principal Investigator: Carol Musil, PhD, RN, FAAN

The Grandmother Study is conducted at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio with support provided by the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Carol Musil and her research team are examining the health of grandmothers and the impact of grandmothers’ caregiving on themselves and their families. Over 450 grandmothers have continued in the study, since the study began in 2001.

We are interested in understanding the central role of grandmothers in a family, how different caregiving changes or stays the same over time, and the effects of these situations over time. We initially identified grandmother participants based on their living arrangements relative to their grandchildren. One group is grandmothers who have primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren, and whose adult children do not live in the home. The second group is grandmothers who live in intergenerational households consisting of both their grandchildren and the children’s parents. The third group is grandmothers who do not live with their grandchildren.

Now, we are in the second phase of this truly unique study. We continue our interest in the grandmother’s health and well-being and are adding the perceptions of their grandchildren about their connections to their grandmother and views about the family. Data will be collected by mailed questionnaire from grandmothers and by telephone from grandchildren at two times, a year apart. In addition, grandchildren who experience a change in their caregiving or living situation related to their grandmother may be invited to participate in an additional telephone interview.