Global Grandparents: New Roles and Relationships

  • Barbara H. SettlesEmail author
Part of the Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Science book series (SACH, volume 7)


Grandparents across the world have experienced two demographic shifts: longer life spans and reduced completed family size. Some areas such as Africa are less affected by these two trends, but have other complex demographic changes. Overall the opportunity for grandparents to relate to grandchildren is expanding. This review of the interdisciplinary literature on grandparenting reports on options and changes in grandparent-grandchild relationships in many countries and notes some of the normative and structural changes occurring. Grandparents’ responses suggest that the relationships with their own children are critical to their maintaining close grandchild relationships. Commonly they report that their role involves being available, but not interfering. Several situations where grandparents are doing more comprehensive caregiving and/or heading the households with grandchildren in them are described. Intergenerational transfers appear to be happening earlier and grandchildren are often included. Some interesting research on the processes of using technology together and interacting around memory development in children and caregiver’s roles are discussed with implications for further research.


Child Care Foster Care Adult Child Foster Parent Intergenerational Transfer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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