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Kaufman, Gayle & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (2003). Grandparenting and Age Identity. Journal of Aging Studies, 17(3), 269-282.


This study examines multiple dimensions of age identity, including how old people feel, how old people want to be, how old people hope to live to, and how old is old. We pay particular attention to the influence of the grandparent role and the timing of the transition to grandparenthood. We use data from a Midwestern sample of 666 elderly Americans included in the Iowa Youth and Families Project (IYFP). The analysis suggests that older people who enjoy being grandparents feel younger, believe that people become old at older ages, and hope to live longer than those who do not enjoy grandparenting. In addition, those who became grandparents at younger ages feel older than those who enter this role “on time.” While becoming a grandparent at a young age may in a sense accelerate aging, positive interaction with grandchildren can lead to a younger age identity.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Aging Studies


Kaufman, Gayle
Elder, Glen H., Jr.