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Curr Gerontol Geriatr Res. 2015;2015:630717. doi: 10.1155/2015/630717. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

Health Characteristics of Solo Grandparent Caregivers and Single Parents: A Comparative Profile Using the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.

Author information

1
School of Social Work, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3993, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA.
2
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, 246 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A1 ; Institute for Life Course & Aging, University of Toronto, 263 McCaul Street, Suite 328, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 1W7.
3
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, 246 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A1.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To describe the health characteristics of solo grandparents raising grandchildren compared with single parents.

METHODS:

Using the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, respondents identified as a single grandparent raising a grandchild were categorized as a solo grandparent; grandparent responses were compared with single parents. Descriptive analysis compared health characteristics of 925 solo grandparents with 7,786 single parents.

RESULTS:

Compared to single parents, grandparents have a higher prevalence of physical health problems (e.g., arthritis). Both parent groups have a high prevalence of lifetime depression. A larger share of grandparents actively smoke and did no recreational physical exercise in the last month. However, grandparents appear to have better access to health services in comparison with single parents.

CONCLUSION:

Solo grandparents may be at risk for diminished physical capacity and heightened prevalence of depression. Health professionals can be an important resource to increase grandparents' physical and emotional capacities.

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