Abstract: The Social Network of Grandparent Caregivers and Its Relation to Resilience (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

184P The Social Network of Grandparent Caregivers and Its Relation to Resilience

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
A. Nancy Mendoza, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Background and Purpose: Grandparents raising grandchildren experience multiple challenges as they take on the unexpected role of caring for their grandchildren, despite the challenges many grandparent caregivers demonstrate to be resilient. Many of the challenges grandparents experience  as well as the importance of social support are well documented in the research. Less attention has been given to understanding how the social network of grandparent caregiver’s and how her/his social network influences resilience. Thus, the purpose of this study was to utilize social network analysis (SNA) to examine the relation between social networks and resilience in grandparent caregivers.

Methods: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with twenty grandparent caregivers. Interviewees were asked questions related to participants’ social network, social support, and services. Prior to the interviews, using data from surveys participants had completed previously, each participant was identified  as representing one of four resilience quadrants: resilient, maladaptive, competent, and vulnerable.

Results: Qualitative analysis of grandparent’s social networks across groups indicated differences between the social networks of resilient grandparent caregivers’  and the social networks of grandparent caregivers in the other groups. For example, the networks of resilient grandparent were structured in a way that provided more opportunities for the inflow of new information and resources. Whereas the proportion of professionals in maladaptive grandparent caregivers’ networks tended to be less than for other networks.

Conclusions and Implications: Findings suggests that for grandparent caregivers, having professionals in one’s network can be beneficial. Additionally, findings from the current study provide opportunities for future research such as identifying ways to help grandparent caregivers structure their social networks to promote resilience.