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Ethn Dis. 2008 Spring;18(2):141-6.

Grandparenthood status and health outcomes in midlife African American women with type 2 diabetes.

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Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut 06536, USA.



To describe grandparenthood status and determine the relationship between grandparenthood status, metabolic control, and psychosocial factors in African American women with type 2 diabetes.


A secondary, descriptive, exploratory analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between grandparenting status, physiologic indices related to metabolic control (body mass index, hemoglobin A1c, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and psychosocial factors (emotional distress and quality of life) in a sample of 109 urban midlife African American women with type 2 diabetes.


Grandmothers made up 60% of the sample and were stratified into three groups on the basis of caretaking status. Grandmothers who cared for but did not live with grandchildren had the highest body mass index, hemoglobin A1c, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure. Caregiving grandmothers also had higher diabetes-related emotional distress scores but had better quality of life scores than did the non-caretaking grandmothers. Non-grandmothers had the lowest quality of life scores.


These findings suggest relationships between grandmother caretaking status and metabolic and psychosocial factors. Research is needed to further examine these relationships and implications on practice and policy decisions.

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