Salivary Markers of Stress in Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren in Rural Appalachia: The Role of Mental Health, Religiosity, and Social Support

Kyle P. Rawn, Peggy S. Keller, Shuang Bi, Nancy Schoenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines changes in salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase among grandparents rearing grandchildren in rural Appalachia. Grandparent-caregivers experience greater stress than non- grandparent-caregivers. Participants included 20 grandparent-caregivers and a child for which they cared, who completed questionnaires assessing family functioning and mental health via interview. Grandparent-caregivers provided morning saliva samples once a year for two years. For grandparent-caregivers low in social support and religiosity, grandparent-caregiver depressive symptoms, child depressive symptoms, and child stress were associated with increased grandparent-caregiver salivary alpha-amylase. For grandparent-caregivers high in social support and religiosity, child depressive symptoms, child stress, and child aggression were associated with increased grandparent-caregiver cortisol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-39
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Intergenerational Relationships
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant awarded to the fourth author from the Retirement Research Foundation, an Igniting Research Collaborations grant awarded to the second and fourth authors by the University of Kentucky, and a grant awarded to the second author from the University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS). The CCTS is funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health (NIH), through grant number UL1TR001998. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Retirement Research Foundation, the University of Kentucky, or the NIH; National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences [UL1TR001998]. This project was supported by The Retirement Research Foundation (#2014-211: Schoenberg); Igniting Research Collaborations (Keller & Schoenberg); and the University of Kentucky Center for Clinical Translational Sciences (Keller). We express appreciate to the following individuals for their considerable efforts on behalf of this project: Aaron Guest, Rachel Swanson, and Lily Weddle. Special appreciation goes to Project Manager Glenn Kincaid (Lee County) and Barbara Bowling (Owsley County).

Funding Information:
This project was supported by The Retirement Research Foundation (#2014-211: Schoenberg); Igniting Research Collaborations (Keller & Schoenberg); and the University of Kentucky Center for Clinical Translational Sciences (Keller). We express appreciate to the following individuals for their considerable efforts on behalf of this project: Aaron Guest, Rachel Swanson, and Lily Weddle. Special appreciation goes to Project Manager Glenn Kincaid (Lee County) and Barbara Bowling (Owsley County).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Salivary cortisol
  • grandparent-caregiver
  • salivary alpha-amylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Archaeology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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