Better Grandparent, Better Grandchild? Cognitive Evidence From Chinese Multigenerational Households

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The objective of the study was to examine the influence over time of coresident grandparents’ cognitive functioning on their grandchildren’s cognitive development. Contrary to the bulk of prior research which is based on data from western societies, we focused on China, where very little quantitative evidence has been documented, but where a considerable proportion of multigenerational households have grandparental caregivers. The sample consists of 595 grandparent-grandchild dyads living in the same household. Data are from two waves of the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS). Using both fixed and random effects OLS regression models, the associations were estimated between grandparents’ cognitive ability changes and child development, as indicated by mathematics and literacy measures. The findings show that in Chinese multigenerational coresident households, grandparents positively affect the cognitive development of their grandchildren. Contrary to expectations, the strength of the association does not differ between three-generation and skip-generation households. We conclude that the presence of grandparents serves as additional human capital in the household, not as a parental substitute even among custodial caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAging Families in Chinese Society
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781000428513
ISBN (Print)9780367858896
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

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© 2022 Taylor & Francis.

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