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Crosnoe, Robert & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (2002). Life Course Transitions, the Generational Stake, and Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(4), 1089-1096.


Drawing on past research and prominent theoretical orientations, this research note suggests new approaches to intergenerational dynamics. For 316 grandparent‐grandchild pairs, we found that the transition of grandchildren to higher education, controlling for other transitions, improves the quality of the grandparent‐grandchild relationship. For grandparent mentoring, however, we see evidence of a generational stake, with grandparents overestimating their mentoring role, compared to grandchildren, during this transition. This generational stake reflects the importance of grandparent education, with increased mentoring for the college‐going grandchildren of college‐educated grandparents. These findings indicate that the intergenerational literature can be significantly advanced by taking a long‐term perspective, incorporating multiple points of view, and examining contextual variation. Moreover, greater understanding of these intergenerational ties will benefit research on families and individual development.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Marriage and Family


Crosnoe, Robert
Elder, Glen H., Jr.