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Mueller, Margaret M. & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (2003). Family Contingencies across the Generations: Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships in Holistic Perspective. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65(2), 404-417.


Family relationships do not occur in isolation but rather are embedded within greater systems of family ties. In recognition of the need to study families holistically, we explore how relations between grandparents and grandchildren are contingent upon a matrix of intergenerational relationships. Using data from the Iowa Youth and Families Project, our analyses focus on person‐centered types of grandparent‐grandchild relationships and the legacy of social ties across the generations, as mediated by other family relationships. We find multiple dimensions of grandparents' involvement with their grandchildren to be associated with (a) whether the grandparents knew their own grandparents when they were young, (b) the grandparent's perceptions of contact and closeness with the target grandchild, and (c) nuances in the relationships of grandparents with the parent generation.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Marriage and Family


Mueller, Margaret M.
Elder, Glen H., Jr.