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empirical research, intergenerational solidarity, childcare


Guided by theories and empirical research on intergenerational relationships, we examine the phenomenon of grandparents caring for grandchildren in contemporary China. Using a longitudinal dataset (China Health and Nutrition Survey), the authors document a high level of structural and functional solidarity in grandparent-grandchildren relationships. Intergenerational solidarity is indicated by a high rate of coresidence between grandchildren and grandparents, a sizable number of skipped-generation households (no parent present), extensive childcare involvement by non-coresidential grandparents, and a large amount of care provided by coresidential grandparents. Multivariate analysis further suggests that grandparents’ childcare load is adaptive to familial needs, as reflected by the characteristics of the household, household members and work activities of the mothers.


First published online December 22, 2011 doi:10.1093/sf/sor012

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Intergenerational relations, Child care