Grandparenting in Urban Bangalore, India: Support and Involvement From the Standpoint of Young Adult University Students

Research paper by Peter B. Gray, Watinaro Longkumer, Santona Panda, Madhavi Rangaswamy

Indexed on: 23 Aug '19Published on: 19 Aug '19Published in: SAGE open


SAGE Open, Volume 9, Issue 3, July-September 2019. A variety of caregivers, including grandparents, help raise children. Among grandparents, most Western samples evidence a matrilateral (i.e., mother’s kin) bias in caregiving, and many studies show more positive impacts and stronger relationships with grandmothers than grandfathers. The aim of the present study is to test competing hypotheses about a potential laterality bias and explore contrasts between grandmothers and grandfathers in a sample of urban young adult university students in Bangalore, India. A sample of 377 (252 women) relatively mobile and high socioeconomic status individuals 17 to 25 years of age completed a survey consisting of sociodemographic and grandparenting questions. Results reveal generally little evidence of either a patrilateral or matrilateral bias, though findings varied for some outcomes. As illustrations, there were no differences in residential proximity or the most recent time when a participant saw matrilateral or patrilateral grandparents, whereas maternal grandmothers were more approving of one’s choice of a life partner than were paternal grandmothers. In inductively coded responses to an open-ended item about the roles of grandparents, maternal grandmothers were more often identified as “guides” and less often deemed “non-significant” than paternal grandmothers, while paternal grandfathers were less often viewed as guardians and more often noted for their influence compared with maternal grandparents. Findings also revealed differences between grandmothers and grandfathers, such as grandmothers playing more prominent roles in community and religious festivals. Findings are interpreted within changing residential, work, education, and family dynamics in urban India as well as a primary importance on parents relative to grandparents.