Grandfamilies: Grandchildren raised by grandparents. Impact on students and school services

Oliver Wayne Edwards, Florida International University


Historically, some grandparents have had to assume the responsibility for raising their grandchildren. More recently, with increasing frequency grandparents are serving as full-time surrogate parents to their grandchildren. The term "grandfamily" was coined by this researcher to identify families where children are raised by grandparents. "Supergrands" are the grandparents and "grandkin" are children in these families. Supergrands who raise their grandkin tend to have elevated levels of stress that negatively impact their well-being. Grandkin tend to develop problems with attachment and establishing social networks, which can lead to poor psychological adjustment. School personnel believe grandkin evidence behavioral problems and occupy disproportionate amounts of their time each day. However, there is a dearth of data to support this belief. This study empirically investigated the impact of grandfamilies on students and school services. The results revealed grandkin experienced significantly greater levels of emotional and behavior problems than similar schoolmates. However, they were not referred for discipline problems in substantially larger numbers. These results indicate the practice of education should change to allow for the development and provision of social support procedures in schools. Social support will serve to buffer the stress, manifested in emotional and behavioral problems, encountered by children living with surrogate parents. A case study was presented along with a proposed intervention project that has potential to ameliorate the problems experienced by grandfamilies.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology|School administration|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Edwards, Oliver Wayne, "Grandfamilies: Grandchildren raised by grandparents. Impact on students and school services" (1998). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9835705.