International journal of aging & human development. vol:41 issue:4 pages:311-24
Why do adolescents value their grandparents? This was the leading question of an investigation among 563 adolescents and young adults in Flanders (Belgium). The Grandparent Meaning Scale which probes eleven a priori dimensions of meaning, was completed by 147 early adolescents (M = 12.5 years), 175 middle adolescents (M = 15.7 years), and 241 late adolescents (M = 18.9 years). Results show that adolescents generally find their grandparents important and feel close to them. Grandparents are valued primarily because they provide affection, reassurance of worth, and reliable alliance. Relational-affective and caregiving meanings were assigned more often to grandmothers whereas advising, teaching, and narrative roles were ascribed more frequently to grandfathers. Maternal grandparents were generally perceived as more important and closer than paternal grandparents. Early adolescents assigned more importance and meaning to their grandparents than middle and late adolescents. There were no differences between grandsons and granddaughters.