Date of Award

Spring 1990

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Many Afro-American mothers reportedly become grandmothers prematurely. Moreover, they often are the primary caretakers and/or co-parents for the grandchildren. Little is known about this intergenerational co-parenting experience. This exploratory study examined the mother-daughter relationship, their co-parenting experiences, and the families social-emotional climate. Thirty-two pairs of Afro-American grandmothers and their adolescent daughters were interviewed using a questionnaire designed by this researcher, a Behavioral Screening Questionnaire,and the Family Environmental Scale--Revised. The demographics showed the average ages of the participants were: grandmothers--37.6 years (SD= 3.9); adolescent mothers--17.9 years (SD= 1.0); and grandchildren--2.6 years (SD= 0.9). Results showed that grandmothers did not significantly differ from their daughters in the perception of their relationship before or after the birth of the child. There was no significant difference in perceived co-parenting styles with the grandchildren. However, daughters significantly differed from their mothers when comparing grandmothers' current parenting style with how they were raised. No significant differences were found between mothers and grandmothers on the Family Environment Scale--Revised or the Behavioral Screening Questionnaire. However, the mothers tended to rate their children as having more problems in the areas of fears, manageability, temper tantrums, and over activity than the grandmothers. Both groups perceived each other as equally involved with caring for the child. Mothers and grandmothers used a variety of disciplinary practices with the children; however, the mothers tended to be more authoritarian. When both groups rated their parenting skills, results showed that grandmothers rated themselves more favorably than mothers. Overall, inter-relationship factors facilitated intergenerational co-parenting. The findings of this study suggest a more positive picture than previous research.



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