Pilkauskas' "Understanding grandfamilies" is published in the Journal of Marriage and Family

June 1, 2016

A journal article on “Understanding grandfamilies: Characteristics of grandparents, non-resident parents, and children,” by Natasha V. Pilkauskas and Rachel E. Dunifon, appears in the June 2016 edition of the Journal of Marriage and Family.


Using data from the Year 9 Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N ∼3,182), we investigated the characteristics of grandfamilies (grandparents raising their grandchildren with no parent present, N =84) and compared them to other key groups, including children’s nonresident parents and other economically disadvantaged families with children. Results show that grandparents raising their grandchildren were generally better off in terms of educational attainment, marital status, and economic well-being than the child’s parents. Grandparents raising their grandchildren also had characteristics very similar to other disadvantaged mothers. Academic and socioemotional well-being were poorer among children in grandfamilies compared with those living with their mothers, but parenting practices were very similar. These findings suggest that although children in grandfamilies may be at a disadvantage academically and socioemotionally, grandparent caregivers are in many ways similar to other fragile-family mothers. Overall, this study enhances our knowledge of an important yet understudied family type.

To learn more, read “Understanding grandfamilies: Characteristics of grandparents, non-resident parents, and children.” For questions, contact Natasha V. Pilkauskas.