-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A good relationship between
grandparents and their adult grandchildren can provide a
psychological boost for both generations, according to a new
Researchers from Boston College found this type of close-knit
bond was linked to fewer symptoms of depression for both the
seniors and the young adults. And the closer the emotional ties,
the bigger the benefit, they found.
In conducting the study, Sara Moorman, an assistant professor in
the sociology department, and Jeffrey Stokes, a Ph.D. candidate in
sociology at Boston College, examined survey data involving 376
grandparents and 340 grandchildren collected between 1985 and 2004.
The grandparents were born on average in 1917, and the
grandchildren on average in 1963.
The study also showed the grandparents who provided their
grandchildren with tangible support -- which included performing a
household chore, giving advice, or offering some pocket money --
and received similar support from their grandchildren in return had
the fewest symptoms of depression. This type of support, however,
did not affect the psychological well-being of grandchildren, the
On the other hand, the grandparents with the most significant
increase in symptoms of depression received tangible support but
did not give it, the researchers pointed out. The authors suggested
that grandparents who receive help but can't return the favor may
feel bad or frustrated about having to depend on their
The study authors concluded that strengthening family bonds
should go beyond the nuclear family and young children. They added
that adult grandchildren who offer tangible support to their
grandparents, and allow their grandparents to give them something
in return could help reduce their symptoms of depression.
Moorman, who is also with the Institute on Aging at Boston
College, is scheduled to present the findings Monday at the annual
meeting of the American Sociological Association, in New York
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical
meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
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