Pruning the Family Tree: The Plight of Grandparents Who Are Alienated from Their Grandchildren

By Carol Hosmer Golly.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 18, 2016 $US5.00

This article presents a theoretical/conceptual discussion of grandparents who experience disruption in relationships with their grandchildren. Implications of such disruptions are viewed through attachment theory and Erikson’s adult stages of life cycle development. A practice application model to help affected grandparents cope with grief and loss is presented. Longer lifespans allow for intergenerational family relationships, yet many grandparents are prevented by the middle generation from seeing their grandchildren. Limited research suggests that this phenomenon may occur as the result of a divorce or death in the middle generation, intergenerational family conflict, or through Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Alienated grandparents suffer serious consequences, including depression, anxiety, grief, suicidal ideation, and physical health problems. Grandparents may be helped through mutual aid and advocacy groups such as Alienated Grandparents Anonymous (AGA). Formed in Naples, Florida, in 2011, AGA expanded rapidly to forty-four US states and ten countries. AGA formed a collaborative with Naples’s David Lawrence Center mental health care facility in 2015 to address mental health needs of participants, using an innovative, web-based TeleHealth program. Research is needed to better understand grandparent alienation and provide effective interventions.

Keywords: Grandparent Alienation, Alienated Grandparents Anonymous

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.21-31. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 18, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 632.576KB)).

Carol Hosmer Golly

Ph.D Student, Child Play Therapist, Barry University, Naples, Florida, USA