Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: An Investigation of Identified Burdens

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Barbara Ganley, PhD

Thesis Advisor

Olivia Catolico, PhD, RN, BC


Grandparents who are primarily responsible for raising their grandchildren face life-altering choices with little support. This study sought to identify the burdens faced by grandparents raising their grandchildren. Grandparents who find themselves as parents again experienced several difficulties such as loss of freedom, loss of connection with their child and relationship problems.

The role of the nurse is to assess the needs of the caregiving grandparent and grandchild. Nurses can offer referrals and support services to caregiving grandparents. A secondary role is to increase awareness and support policy change.

The purpose of this research was to determine if there was a difference between the experienced burdens by grandparents raising their grandchildren compared to those not raising their grandchildren.

The research design was a quantitative two group comparison, descriptive survey study. The survey compared grandparents who were raising their grandchildren and a group of grandparents not raising their grandchildren. The survey contained thirteen questions related to burden assessment. Demographic variables include race, gender, age. education, income and time in grandparent care.

The Short Zarit Burden Interview (S-ZBI) was used to ascertain the number of times of burden experienced by participants within the past week.

Grandparents raising their grandchildren experienced increased burden. The research data showed that grandparents raising their grandchild experienced more episodes of burden than those not raising their grandchildren.