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Grandparenthood: A Universal Aspiration for Later Life? On the Subjective Importance of the Grandparent Role in Germany
German Centre of Gerontology, Manfred-von-Richthofen-Str. 2, 12101 Berlin, Germany.
German Centre of Gerontology, Manfred-von-Richthofen-Str. 2, 12101 Berlin, Germany.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8697-1876
2011 (English)In: Advances in Life Course Research, ISSN 1569-4909, E-ISSN 1879-6974, Vol. 17, no 3, 145-155 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the light of changing opportunity structures for the experience of grandparenthood, we address older parents’ attitudes towards the grandparent role. Our focus is on the interrelationship between the importance of the grandparent role and social class. The likelihood of the transition to grandparenthood and the opportunities to enact the grandparent role clearly differ according to an individual's social class position. We therefore ask whether the importance attached to grandparenthood varies for individuals from different social classes as well. Furthermore, we test for other correlates of the subjective importance of grandparenthood, such as the quality of family relations, marital status, and value orientations towards life in general.

The analyses are based on data of the German Ageing Survey, a nationally representative study of individuals aged 40 years and older. Data collected in 2008 provide information on the subjective importance of (prospective) grandparenthood as reported by grandparents and non-grandparents.

According to our data, the subjective importance of experienced as well as prospective grandparenthood does not vary by social class. Instead, we find relationship quality with grandchildren to be most influential and positively related to the perceived importance of the grandparent role. The same holds true for non-grandparents and their relationships with children. Conservative value orientations promote the importance of a future transition to grandparenthood only. In light of the findings, and given the changing opportunities to experience the grandparent role, grandparenthood might evolve into an unequally distributed social resource for later life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011. Vol. 17, no 3, 145-155 p.
Keyword [en]
Grandparenthood; Grandparent role; Importance; Ageing; German Ageing Survey
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-125860DOI: 10.1016/j.alcr.2012.06.001OAI: diva2:909309
Available from: 2016-03-06 Created: 2016-03-06 Last updated: 2016-03-17Bibliographically approved

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Motel-Klingebiel, Andreas
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Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)Social Work

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