Unfortunately many of us are guilty of partially neglecting our grandparents, but according to a study from Boston College having good relationships with your grandparents lowers depression. The study, entitled ‘The Longitudinal Study of Generations’, consisted of a survey of families with 3 or 4 generations over 19 years (1985-2004). 376 grandparents and 340 grandchildren were analysed, with the average grandparent being 77 years old and the average grandchild 31 years of age.
Sara Moorman, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the Institute of Aging at Boston College, commented on the finding that “an emotionally close grandparent-adult grandchild relationship was associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations”. Psychological health improves as the grandparent – grandchild relationship improves.
When a grandchild received “tangible support” (help with chores, financial assistant, etc) the psychological wellbeing of the grandparent improved but not the grandchild. If grandparents received tangible support they showed increased symptoms of depression. Therefore those who give and received tangible support had the fewest symptoms of depression. “It is better to give than receive” is the message of this study says Sara Moorman as results showed “if a grandparent gets help, but cannot give it, he or she feels bad”. Whilst it is good to help grandparents, it is important that they feel needed, worthwhile and independent.