Grandparent caregiving and psychological well-being among Chinese American older adults—the roles of caregiving burden and pressure

Publication Date: 07/01/2017

Background: Though ample research on grandparent caregiving and psychological well-being outcomes exist in Western literature, little attention has been focused on Chinese American grandparents. Based on role enhancement and role strain theories, this study examined grandparent caregiving and psychological well-being among Chinese American older adults and tested whether caregiving burden or pressure from adult children moderated such association.

Methods: We used the data from the Population Study of ChINese Elderly in Chicago (PINE), a population-based survey of community-dwelling Chinese older adults in the Greater Chicago area. Grandparents with grandchildren younger than 16 years old were selected for present study (N = 2,775). Negative binominal regression and logistic regression models were used to test the relationships of grandparent caregiving time and psychological well-being measured by depressive symptoms and quality of life.

Results: Grandparents reported an average of 11.96 hours a week for caring for grandchildren. Caregiving time had a significantly negative association with depressive symptoms, but not with quality of life. The association between grandparent caregiving and depressive symptoms was moderated by the perception of caregiving burden. No moderating effect of caregiving pressure from adult children was found. Conclusions: More time spending on grandparent caregiving is generally beneficial to Chinese American grandparents’ psychological well-being, thus supporting role enhancement theory. However, this association depends on whether this experience is a burden to the grandparents, therefore role strain theory is also supported. Policies and programs are discussed to address the grandparenting experience in the Chinese American older adults.