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Being a grandparent and depression: how does it differ across England, Europe and China?

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Being a grandparent and depression: how does it differ across England, Europe and China?

Approximately one billion people in the world’s population are grandparents, which makes it crucial to examine the impact of grandparenting on grandparents’ health. Grandparenting is characterised by both cultural and individual variations. Understanding the complex impact of grandparenting on individuals’ health contributes to the global strategy of active ageing.

In this study, they examine the cross-national differences in the effect of grandparenting on older persons’ depression in England, Europe and China. They look to understand the role of providing childcare, grandparents’ gender and the national economy. Their findings show that becoming a grandparent can lessen the effect of depressive symptoms on grandparents in lower income countries. Conversely, in higher income countries, it can worsen depressive symptoms for grandparents. The effect of providing care for grandchildren on grandparents’ depression varied by country and according to the intensity of care provided.

Policy decision makers should pay attention to the support grandparents need, and systematically integrate childcare provided by grandparents into family policies. Policies supporting older people should take into account the way in which country-level and individual-level factors combine to affect grandparents’ well-being.