Grandparent-grandchild relationships and grandchildren's well-being after parental divorce in Flanders, Belgium. Does lineage matter?

Keywords: divorce, separation, intergenerational relations, child well-being, grandparent, grandchild

Abstract

Grandparents can play a supportive role when parents are divorced, but we know little about how important they actually are for the well-being of grandchildren. Existing studies do not distinguish between grandparental lineages. But a parental divorce usually has different consequences for relationships with grandparents on each side of the family, especially contacts with paternal grandparents getting hampered. And evolutionary perspectives suggest that maternal grandparents are more beneficial to grandchildren’s well-being than paternal grandparents. Using a sample of grandchildren with divorced parents from the study ‘Divorce in Flanders’, we study whether the quality of relationships with maternal and paternal grandparents associate with grandchildren’s subjective well-being. Our results indicate that, although relationships with maternal grandparents tend to be closer than those with paternal grandparents, the strength of relationships with maternal as well as paternal grandparents is positively associated with the well-being of grandchildren with divorced parents. This suggests that not only maternal grandparents, but also grandparents on the father’s side of the family may play a beneficial role for their grandchildren in the often difficult times after a parental divorce.

Published
2020-01-13
Section
Articles