Adolescents' closeness to paternal grandmothers in the face of parents' divorce

Shalhevet Attar-Schwartz*, Esme Fuller-Thomson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Parental divorce often includes a disruption in grandchildren's relationships with their paternal grandparents. This study examined the moderating role of family type (i.e., custodial-mother vs. married-parents families) in the relationship between paternal grandmother's involvement, fathers' and mothers' relationships with the paternal grandmother and adolescents' emotional closeness to the grandmother. It was based on the reports of 1050 Israeli-Jewish adolescents (ages 12–18). Adolescents from custodial-mother families reported lower levels of closeness to their paternal grandmothers. After controlling for the relationship quality between the mother and the paternal grandmother, the family type became insignificant. In custodial-mother families, paternal grandmother's involvement was more strongly associated with adolescents' increased emotional closeness to the grandmother. The link between father-paternal grandmother relationship and adolescent's closeness to the grandmother was stronger in intact families. In support of the kin-keeper theory, the mother-paternal grandmother relationship was positively linked with grandchild-grandparent relationship in both family types. Such findings help elucidate variations in grandparent-grandchild ties in an era of increased parental divorce.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adolescent grandchildren
  • Emotional closeness
  • Intergenerational solidarity
  • Kin-keeper theory
  • Parent-as-mediator theory
  • Parental divorce
  • Paternal grandparents


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