Title: Does Grandparenting Increase or Reduce Social Participation: An Individual Fixed-Effects Approach
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Jason Wong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Mengke Zhao, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Yuying Tong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
While grandparenting may expand social networks and foster social integration among grandparents, it also discourages grandparents from establishing social life beyond family due to chronic role strain. Considering the time- and energy-consuming nature of grandparenting, the reconciliation of multiple social roles in response to caregiving responsibilities receives surprisingly insufficient attention in the fields of social gerontology and family sociology. It remains largely underexplored how the provision of grandparental childcare influences grandparents’ social participation, specifically in the context of China, where grandparenting is characterized as a representation of multigenerational family connections underpinned by Confucianism and a household adaptive strategy coping with economic transformation. Drawing four waves of data (2011-2018) from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, the present study examines the longitudinal within-person associations between grandparenting and social participation among Chinese grandparents using individual fixed-effects logistic and Poisson regression models over the 8-year study period. Moreover, because social participation is a multifaceted concept, we investigate the associations between grandparenting and different types of social participation separately. Lastly, we test the moderating effects of gender, place of residence, and intergenerational living arrangements in the relationships between grandparenting and social participation. Our preliminary findings suggest that grandparenting in general increases the likelihood and number of social participation among Chinese grandparents. The effects are heterogeneous depending on the intensity of grandparental involvement, types of social activities, and respondents’ background characteristics. These findings call attention to consider the consequences of grandparenting given a substantial proportion of older adults provide grandparental childcare.
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