Skip to main content


King, Valarie & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (1997). The Legacy of Grandparenting: Childhood Experiences with Grandparents and Current Involvement with Grandchildren. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59(4), 848-859.


Childhood experiences with grandparents are an important factor in the current involvement of men and women with their own grandchildren. We test this proposition with data from two related longitudinal studies of rural families, the Iowa Youth and Families Project and the Iowa Single Parent Project. Consistent with the premise that family roles are learned through the culture and the interactions of family life, results show that the degree to which grandparents are involved in playing their role and the type of involvement they have with grandchildren are significantly influenced by having known their own grandparents and learned about them through multiple aspects of their intergenerational history. In contrast, sharing a household with a grandparent made little difference in their contemporary involvement with grandchildren.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Marriage and the Family


King, Valarie
Elder, Glen H., Jr.