The pathway to grandparenting stress: trauma, relational conflict, and emotional well-being

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: This paper examines the mediating effect of child-grandparent conflict on the relationship between child trauma exposure and grandparenting stress.

METHODS: Data was collected from a sample of custodial grandparents who participated in kinship care or relative caregiving programs (n = 251). Grandparenting stress was measured with Parenting Stress Scale (Berry & Jones, 1995 ) modified for grandparents. A series of regression models and structural equation models (SEM) were used to test the relationship between the number of different types of child trauma exposures and grandparenting stress, and to examine the mediating effect of child-grandparent conflicts on the relationship.

RESULTS: Almost three-fourths (72%) of children had experienced at least one type of traumatic exposure. The SEM model shows that child's trauma exposure indirectly affected grandparenting stress, mediated by child-grandparenting conflicts though no direct path between the child's trauma exposure variable and grandparenting stress was found. A higher level of child-grandparent conflicts was also associated with a lower level of emotional well-being among custodial grandparents.

CONCLUSION: Based on these findings, recommendations are made about how to tailor a trauma-informed approach to the needs of custodial grandparents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-24
Number of pages10
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers/psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse/psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations
  • Kentucky/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological/epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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