What is it about?

Grandparental involvement in childrearing has been associated with children’s social–emotional development, yet findings are mixed. Grandparental involvement is a multidimensional concept that includes both quantity (i.e., the degree of grandparental involvement) and quality aspects (i.e., the quality of parent–grandparent coparenting and the quality of grandparenting practices). This study included both quantity and quality aspects to identify heterogeneous patterns of grandparental involvement and examined the associations between distinct patterns of grandparental involvement and children’s social–emotional outcomes.

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Why is it important?

In China, it is very common for grandparents to be involved in providing care for young children. However, there is a particularly entrenched stereotype that grandparents are less competent caregivers. Our study challenges this stereotype by showing that there are many different patterns of grandparental involvement. When grandparents show high levels as well as high-quality of involvement, children could have better social-emotional functioning compared to families with other patterns of grandparental involvement.


Through this work, we wish to raise people's awareness about the variations in grandparental involvement. We hope people would abandon the commonly held stereotype about grandparents. Also, it is important for parents and grandparents to work together to build a supportive coparenting relationship, which is key to the quality of grandparental involvement.

Lixin Ren
Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Distinct patterns of grandparental involvement in childrearing and Chinese preschoolers’ social–emotional development., Journal of Family Psychology, January 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/fam0001199.
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