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Parenting interventions for grandparents may lead to better mental health and wellbeing for participants

Sherr L, Roberts K, Hothi S, Balchin N. Never too old to learn - Parenting interventions for grandparents: A systematic review Cogent Social Sciences. 2018; 4(1): 1-22.

Review question

      What is the effectiveness of parenting interventions for grandparents?


      Grandparents are often be involved in childcare and in some circumstances may even be the primary caregivers of their grandchildren.

      While grandparents have some experience by way of raising their own children, they may benefit from interventions to improve and update their parenting skills.

      This systematic review examined the effectiveness of parenting interventions for grandparents, with a focus on their effects on grandparents, parents, and grandchildren.

How the review was done

      A systematic search of three databases – PsycINFO, Medline, and EMBASE – was conducted in March 2017 to identify studies examining parenting interventions for grandparents.

      Keyword search terms included: parenting, parenting intervention, grandparent, and grandchild.

      A total of 191 articles were identified, but eight studies were included in the review after assessing their eligibility.

       No external funding was declared for this review.

What the researchers found

      Parenting interventions for grandparents varied in length and format. As such, robust conclusions could not be drawn regarding the most effective types of interventions.

      Length of programs ranged from nine weeks to two years. Parenting programs included individual case work, home visits, group work, coaching, and summer camps.

      The content and theoretical underpinnings of these various parenting programs were not cohesive and no underlying construct on the general needs of grandparents was found.

      The limited body of research evidence suggests that parenting interventions for grandparents may benefit the grandparents themselves in terms of their mental health and wellbeing. Weaker evidence supports improved outcomes in the grandchildren’s behaviours.


      This review highlights the broad range of parenting interventions available for grandparents, which vary significantly in both length and format. Research evidence points to generally beneficial outcomes of parenting programs to the mental health and wellbeing of grandparents.


Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

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