Defining the Grandma Effect

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ABC News

The role played by grandmothers in American families has been spotlighted by President-elect Barack Obama’s speeches about his late grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, and the news that Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, will be moving to the White House to help care for her granddaughters. But the value of grandparents isn’t news to the millions of U.S. children who rely on them for care and guardianship.

Researchers say there are unique psychological benefits of having grandparents, rather than child welfare systems, care for children when parents cannot – including fewer child injuries, better grades and fewer behavioral problems. And despite struggles such as financial burdens, generation gaps, poor health and depression, most grandparents “manage to carry it off.” Nov. 10.