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Study: How Family Strain, Depression, and Resourcefulness Affect Grandparent Caregivers

Study Abstract: Nursing Outlook: 61 (14) pgs. 225-34.


Grandmothers living with grandchildren face stressors that may increase depressive symptoms, but cognitive-behavioral strategies, such as resourcefulness, may reduce the effects of stressors on mental health.


This analysis examined the contemporaneous and longitudinal relationships among intra-family strain, resourcefulness, and depressive symptoms in 240 grandmothers, classified by caregiving status to grandchildren.


Grandmothers raising grandchildren, grandmothers living in multigenerational homes, and non-caregivers to grandchildren reported on intra-family strain, resourcefulness, and depressive symptoms using mailed questionnaires at three time points over 5 years. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the mediating effects of resourcefulness and the relationships between variables.


Grandmother caregiver status had significant effects on depressive symptoms and intra-family strain but not on resourcefulness. At all waves, higher resourcefulness was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, which reduced appraisals of intra-family strain.


Interventions focused on strengthening resourcefulness could reduce depressive symptoms over time

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