Young Adults’ Perceptions of Closeness with Their Grandparents and Attitudes toward Aging

By Mikiyasu Hakoyama and Eileen MaloneBeach.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 28, 2014 $US5.00

The U.S. tends to be age-segregated and to value youthfulness, independence, and autonomy. This can lead to the marginalization of older adults, including grandparents. The current study examined the impact of perceptions of grandparent-grandchild (GP-GC) closeness on young adult grandchildren’s views toward older adults in general. An online survey was deployed to undergraduates with at least one living grandparent. Participants (N=534) rated multiple aspects of GP-GC relationship and their views on older adults. Close to three quarters (72%) of the participants perceived that the U.S. is age-segregated. Path analysis revealed relative and directional effects of GP-GC closeness on participants’ views of their grandparents as well as older adults in general. Young adult grandchildren who reported higher levels of GP-GC closeness viewed their grandparents and older people in general as knowledgeable and wise, and was significantly correlated with rating older adults in general as well respected. These results indicate that close relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren contribute to their grandchildren’s positive views toward older adults and suggest that cultivation of GP-GC relationships may be a pathway for the mitigation of age segregation. In turn, decreased age segregation may promote less stereotypic ideas regarding older adults.

Keywords: Path Analysis, Intergroup, Contact, Grandchild

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 3, Issue 4, August 2014, pp.53-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 28, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 620.950KB)).

Dr. Mikiyasu Hakoyama

Associate Professor, Human Environmental Studies Department, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA

Dr. Eileen MaloneBeach

Professor, Human Environmental Studies Department, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA