Thursday, July 12, 2007
This presentation is part of : Family Health Issues
Predictors of behavior problems in children raised by grandparents: The role of psychological distress, family resources, and family characteristics
Susan J. Kelley, PhD, FAAN, College of Health and Human Sciences, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe the level of emotional problems in grandchildren raised by grandparents.
Learning Objective #2: discuss variables that influence behavior problems in children raised by grandparents.

This paper will report results from an on-going study of children raised by grandparents in a large city in southeastern region of the U.S. The purpose of the present research was to determine predictors of emotional and behavioral problems of traumatized children being raised by grandparents in parent-absent households.

The sample comprised 511 children, ages 2-16 years (M= 8.53), who are predominantly African American (98%) and being raised by grandparents. All participants were reported to have experienced one or more forms of child maltreatment with neglect and abandonment most common. 

The dependent variable, child behavior problems, was measured with the Child Behavior Checklist (Auchenbach, 1992). Independent variables included the home environment (Home Observation Measure of the Environment, Caldwell and Bradley, 2003); grandparent psychological distress (Brief Symptom Inventory, Derogotis, 1993); family resources (Family Resource Scale, Dunst and Leet, 1987); family social support (Family Support Scale, Dunst and Trivett, 1989); grandchild age, grandparent age, length of time with grandparent, and total number of grandchildren in being raised by their grandparents.

Results indicated that more than one out of ten (13.1%) child participants scored in the deviant range on child behavior problems. A stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed the following variables as predictors of child behavior problems: grandparent psychological distress, number of grandchildren being raised, child age, grandparent age, and family resources (R2 = .35, F= 44.33. p = .001). In summary, a total of 35% of the variance was explained by the model, with grandparent psychological distress the strongest predictor of child behavior problems.

Discussion will include study limitations, implications for practice, and recommendations for further research.