Exploring the association between grandparental care and child development: Evidence from China

Hua LI, Heikki HIILAMO, Yidan Daisy ZHU, Ka LIN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Grandparental care has become an involuntary choice in life for many families, mainly due to parents’ unavailability to provide care and the lack of public or affordable private childcare. This phenomenon has raised concerns regarding the effects of grandparental care along the dimensions of child development. This study aims to test the association between grandparental care and child development in three dimensions: subjective wellbeing, behavioural traits and study performance. It used data from the 2018 China Family Panel Studies survey. First, the study outlines the data and the applied method with defined variables, on the basis of which an overview on the current stage of grandparental care is presented. It then examines the association of the impact of grandparental care in different dimensions using the general linear model, along with the other influencing factors. Finally, a cross-age group comparison is employed. The results of the study illustrate the difficulty of examining an overall picture of grandparental childcare, with its negative or positive associations. However, when evaluated using the features of different age groups of children's development, significant associations between grandparental care and child development are mainly found in the 6–11 age group, but the significant associations weaken or disappear in the 12–16 age group. Attachment theory and peer group theory are used to explain the difference between the two age groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e4122-e4132
Number of pages11
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number6
Early online date30 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Department of Education of Zhejiang Province (Grants No. Y202044136) and the National Social Science Fund of China (Grants No. 19ASH016). We are grateful to the Institute of Social Science Survey of Peking University for the use of data from China Family Panel Studies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • child development
  • child welfare
  • family care
  • grandparental care
  • informal care


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