Sara M. Moorman, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and the Institute on Aging at Boston College, who will present the study at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, said that they found that an emotionally close grandparent-adult grandchild relationship was associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations.
She said that the greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health.
The study also revealed that giving tangible support to or receiving it from their grandchildren affected the psychological well-being of grandparents but not grandchildren.
Tangible support, also called functional solidarity or instrumental support, includes anything from rides to the store and money to assistance with household chores and advice.
Moorman, who co-authored the study with Jeffrey E. Stokes, a PhD candidate in sociology at Boston College, said hat grandparents who experienced the sharpest increases in depressive symptoms over time received tangible support, but did not give it.
She asserted that there is a saying that it's better to give than to receive.
Moorman said that their results support that folk wisdom - if a grandparent gets help, but can't give it, he or she feels badly.
She explained that the grandparents expect to be able to help their grandchildren, even when their grandchildren are grown, and it's frustrating and depressing for them to instead be dependent on their grandchildren.
In their study, the researchers used data from the Longitudinal Study of Generations, a survey of 3- and 4-generation U.S. families that included seven waves of data collection between 1985 and 2004.
The sample was comprised of 376 grandparents and 340 grandchildren. The average grandparent was born in 1917 and the average grandchild in 1963, making them 77 years old and 31 years old, respectively, at the midpoint of the study in 1994.
--ANI (Posted on 19-08-2013)