Rural Grandparents raising grandchildren : predictors of parental stress
Conway, Marcia Anne
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The number of grandparents raising grandchildren has increased dramatically in the West and throughout United States in recent years. Although research on grandparent caregivers is increasing, there remains little research that addresses the challenges and issues facing grandparents raising grandchildren in rural locales. To address this shortcoming, this study examines the parental stressors experienced by rural grandparent caregivers and explores individual, parental, and community level factors that may be related to stress including length of time in the primary caregiver role, grandparentsα income level, psychological well-being, parental confidence, and perceived social support. Eighty-three grandparents raising their grandchildren were recruited for this study from across the state using purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Respondents were asked to fill out a survey about their experience raising their grandchild(ren). A total of forty-four grandparents participated in this study. Data indicate that as grandparents continue in the parenting role, their parental confidence and perceived social support increases. Significant differences were noted between American Indian and Caucasian caregivers. For example, American Indian caregivers reported experiencing significantly more time in the caregiving role, reported lower incomes, and experienced more depressive symptoms than their Caucasian counterparts. The best predictors of parental stress were depression and parental confidence. As depression increased, stress likewise increased. As parental confidence increased, parental stress decreased. These findings hold important implications for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.