Contacts between grandchildren and grandparents after divorce

When parents divorce, grandparents can play a supportive role in the lives of their grandchildren, but a parental divorce may also put grandchild–grandparent ties under pressure. In this study the authors investigated how grandchildren of married and divorced parents differ in the frequency of face-to-face contacts with grandparents and how this is mediated by postdivorce residence arrangements. Based on the multi-actor survey “Divorce in Flanders,” they used reports of contact provided by more than 1,000 grandchildren and compared them with more than 1,100 grandparent reports for validation. The results showed that grandchildren from divorced parents have fewer contacts with their grandparents than grandchildren whose parents are married but that it is the postdivorce residence arrangement of grandchildren that produces this result. When grandchildren live with their divorced father or in a shared residence arrangement, they even see paternal grandparents more often than grandchildren with married parents.

Click here to view the article by Maaike Jappens & Jan Van Bavel in the Journal of Marriage and Family.