An exploratory investigation of the interactional patterns of grandparents and college-age grandchildren

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A random sample of one hundred-eighty seven college students currently enrolled at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (V.P.I. & S.U.) with living grandparents was utilized in an attempt to verify the existence of various styles of grandparenting and to test the relationship between reported grandparenting style and specified variables. Verification of the existence of distinct grandparenting styles was determined from factor analysis of selected item responses. Five distinct grandparenting styles were identified, corresponding to the five styles described by Neugarten and Weinstein (1964). The Formal Style was most frequently identified, however, this difference was not statistically significant at the .O5 level. Grandparent health, as well as sex and sibling position of the grandchild were found to significantly influence the adoption of particular grandparenting styles. Hypotheses pertaining to the influence of kinship and sex of the grandparent were not supported. General patterns and modes of contact between grandparent and grandchild were also investigated.