Methods: The sample comprised 549 predominantly low-income, African American grandmothers raising an average of 2.47 (range 1-8) grandchildren. The mean age of the caregiver was 56.3 years, with a range of 33 to 83 years. The study intervention was designed to improve the psychological and physical well-being of caregiving grandmothers; it included home visitation by registered nurses and social workers, participation in support groups and parenting classes, as well as legal service referrals and early intervention services for children aged 5 years and younger. Data were collected at baseline and at completion of the one year intervention. Psychological distress was measured with the 51 item, Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) (Derogatis, 1993).
Results: The major reasons the children were being raised by participants included substance abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Overall psychological distress, as measured by the Global Severity Index (GSI) of the BSI, decreased significantly from baseline to post-test (p < .001). Furthermore, there were significant decreases across all nine symptom dimensions of the BSI (p < .01). Results based on select demographic variables will also be presented.
Conclusion: Study findings suggest that the intervention model is a promising approach to improving the well-being of this caregiving population. Practice, policy, and research implications of study findings will be presented.
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