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King, Valarie; Silverstein, Merril; Elder, Glen H., Jr.; Bengtson, Vern L.; & Conger, Rand D. (2003). Relations with Grandparents: Rural Midwest versus Urban Southern California. Journal of Family Issues, 24(8), 1044-1069.


The rapid growth of urban settlements in the United States has profound but largely unexplored implications for children's relations with grandparents. Rural settlements in the Midwest frequently became a stepping stone to residence in far western states. We examine whether and how relations with grandparents differs for young people in rural farm and nonfarm regions of the Midwest (using the Iowa Youth and Families Project - IYFP) and in urban Southern California (using the Longitudinal Study of Generations - LSOG). Rural youth enjoy more frequent contact with paternal grandparents and receive more help from all grandparents than urban youth. Farm adolescents have even more contact and receive more help from paternal grandparents than rural nonfarm age-mates. Levels of conflict are low across ecologies, although urban youth report higher levels of conflict with maternal grandmothers than rural youth. Even with controls, the relationship of young Americans with their grandparents varies significantly by rural-urban ecology.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Family Issues


King, Valarie
Silverstein, Merril
Elder, Glen H., Jr.
Bengtson, Vern L.
Conger, Rand D.