Marital Disruptions and Grandparent Relationships

Brenda A. Gravenish

Elizabeth Thomson


This study investigates the effects of separation or divorce on children's contact and closeness with their grandparents. Using data from the National Survey of Families and Households conducted in 1987-88 and 1992-93, we estimated regression models with controls for race, mother's education, father's education, poverty ratio, age and sex of child, age of grandparent, distance from grandparent, and parent's contact and closeness with their parents prior to separation or divorce. Children's closeness with grandparents, both maternal and paternal, was not affected by separation or divorce. Separation/divorce also had no significant effects on contact with maternal grandparents, or when the grandchild was male, on contact with paternal grandparents. Granddaughters' contact with paternal grandparents was, however, negatively affected by separation or divorce.