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The Burden of Grandparenting among Chinese older adults in the Greater Chicago area—The PINE Study

Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

Special Issues: The Population Study of Chinese Elderly-PINE Study

Grandparent caregiving responsibilities influence feelings of burden in many older adults. Though grandparenting is traditionally seen as a rewarding experience for Chinese older adults, some research has pointed to the possibility of grandparenting burden in Chinese older adults in the U.S. However, there is a paucity of research concerning prevalence of grandparenting burden in Chinese older adults. This study aims to provide an overall estimate on grandparenting burden and examine its correlations with socio-demographic characteristics, self-reported health data, and time spent caring for grandchildren. Data was collected through the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago (PINE) study. This community-based participatory research study surveyed a total of 3,159 Chinese older adults aged 60 and above, 2,146 of whom have grandchildren. We used four questions on a Likert-scale to determine levels of grandparenting burden. Our study found 22% of our participants who are grandparents experience grandparenting burden. Younger age (r = 0.12), living with four or more people (r = 0.09), lower overall health status (r = 0.09), lower quality of life (r = 0.09), and more time spent caring for grandchildren (r = 0.37) were correlated with grandparenting burden. Our findings show that grandparenting is not a necessarily rewarding experience for Chinese older adults, and that certain subsets of the population are more likely to experience grandparenting burden. Future longitudinal research should be conducted to determine causality as well the psychological, physical, and social effects of grandparenting burden.
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Keywords grandparenting burden; Chinese aging; older adults; prevalence; health; population study

Citation: Xinqi Dong, E-Shien Chang, Stephanie Bergren BA. The Burden of Grandparenting among Chinese older adults in the Greater Chicago area—The PINE Study. AIMS Medical Science, 2014, 1(2): 125-140. doi: 10.3934/medsci.2014.2.125


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