Role Markers of Adulthood and Grandchildren's Ties to Grandparents

Maria A. Monserud, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Young adulthood generally entails greater separateness from the family of origin. Do relationships of young adults with their grandparents vary by adult roles that grandchildren occupy? This study investigates the implications of residential independence, enrollment in higher education, full-time employment, marriage and parenthood for contact with and closeness to grandparents. Data come from 1,507 young adults interviewed in Wave 3 of the National Survey of Families and Households. Findings suggest that occupying adult roles can be either negatively or positively associated with grandparent-grandchild ties, depending on specific configurations among such factors as the adult role in question, a particular dimension of intergenerational solidarity, lineage and grandparent’s gender. Little support was found for the idea that grandchild’s gender moderates these associations.

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Presented in Session 153: Generational Exchanges and the Well-Being of Grandchildren