Methods: Using the 2005-2007 American Community Survey data, White, African American, Asian American, and Hispanic grandparent caregivers in skipped generation and three-generation households were compared (n=68,678). Their health status was measured by whether they have medical problems, cognitive impairment, limitations in ADLs, limitations in going out, and limitations in working. Also, the public income support programs included food stamp and any public financial assistance or welfare payment. Descriptive statistics as well as chi-square tests, ANOVAs, and t-tests were conducted to compare grandparent caregivers by ethnicity and household structure. In multivariate analysis, sequential three models for each measure of health and public program use were executed.
Results: Bivariate analyses revealed that grandparent caregivers from different ethnicities and households were significantly different in terms of most of demographic, caregiving status, health, and public service use variables. Even though higher rates of health limitations in African Americans and grandparent caregivers living in skipped generation household were evident, these negative aspects were positively shifted when their demographic and caregivng duration determinants were controlled. However, Hispanics in skipped generation households continuously showed higher limitations in health compared to Whites in the households. African Americans and Asian Americans in skipped generation households were less likely to receive public financial assistance compared to Whites and Hispanics in the households.
Implications: These findings suggest that practitioners should aware ethnic differences when working with grandparent caregivers for outreach, emphasis, and primary goals of intervention. Health services are especially needed for at-risk grandparents such as Hispanics living in skipped generation households. To improve public income support programs' utilization among grandparent caregivers, we should reform the programs' accessibility and eligibility for underserved groups.