Grandparents have always been central to supporting families (Buchanan and Ten Brinke 1997). However, given some recent socio-demographic trends, there is growing evidence that grandparents today are playing an increasing role in their grandchildren’s lives (Tan et al. 2010). In recent decades many Western countries have witnessed a tendency for an ageing of the population and lower rates of fertility. This shift from a high-mortality/high-fertility to a low-mortality/lowfertility society has resulted in an increase in the number of generations alive at any one time and a decrease in the number of children within each generation. Thus, the number of individuals who will live part of their lives as members of three and four generation families is increasing (Harper and Levin 2005).
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© Jo bridgeman, Heather Keating and Craig lind 2011.