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Kinder, Teenager und ihre Grosseltern - intergenerationelle Beziehungen in einer wandelnden Gesellschaft

English title Children, teenagers and their grandparents - intergenerational relationships in a changing world
Applicant Höpflinger François
Number 68940
Funding scheme NRP 52 Childhood, Youth and Intergenerational Relationships in a Changing Society
Research institution Soziologisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Sociology
Start/End 01.08.2003 - 30.09.2005
Approved amount 268'865.00
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Keywords (2)

children; teenager

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Grandparents in a dynamic society - how do grandchildren and grandparents experience their relationships?

Demographic and social developments have changed the relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren. This research project is intended to provide an up-to-date view of the value of grandparents for today’s children and teenagers, and the value of grandchildren for older people.

The great increase in life expectancy over the last few decades has decisively changed the generational structure: grandparents and their grandchildren now share more of their lives. In addition to this, the life situation of grandchildren has been transformed; ever more grandparents can learn from them. And yet, the concrete life experiences that grandchildren can have with active grandparents are a recent social phenomenon.

This research project is intended to examine three thematic areas:
- A sociodemographic analysis will be used to investigate how intergenerational structures have been transformed: how many children have active grandparents? How is the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren changing in a society with few children?
- A sociological survey will hopefully give a clear idea of the value grandparents have for children and teenagers: how significant are these relationships from the children’s perspective? To what extent does their relationship to their grandparents change as they develop? What form of contact leads to intensive grandparent-grandchild relationships?
- Significant family-policy and social-policy questions concerning grandparenthood and grandparent-grandchild relationships will be discussed: what rights do grandparents have in relation to their grandchildren? To what extent are grandparents suitable as «foster parents»?

Apart from a sociodemographic analysis and secondary analyses of available data, this research project will focus on a survey of children and young people between the ages of 12 and 16 in the urban cantons of Geneva and Zurich. They will be asked about their personal relationships with different grandparents. Subsequently, the grandparents in question will be interviewed about the significance of the grandparent role and their opinions on intergenerational relationships.

The purpose is to investigate how the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren can be strengthened. The functioning of a society characterised by longevity depends on its capacity to integrate different generations. Grandchildren can profit from good contacts with grandparents and, conversely, contacts with young people also enable older people to keep in touch with social change more successfully.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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