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Do grandparents matter? Intergenerational relationships between the closest grandparents and Malaysian adolescents

Tan, JP (2018) Do grandparents matter? Intergenerational relationships between the closest grandparents and Malaysian adolescents. Contemporary Social Science, 13 (2). pp. 246-260. ISSN 2158-2041

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Abstract

A close connection with a grandparent can interact with an adolescent’s experience of life stressors to increase or decrease their risk for negative outcomes. Traditional filial values may be linked to closer grandparent–grandchildren interactions in Asian cultures, such as Malaysia. This study examined how grandparental involvement and emotional closeness moderated the associations between life stressors and adjustment difficulties among adolescents in Malaysia (n = 643 adolescents). Hierarchical regression analysis showed that greater proximal and distal life stressors were associated with more adjustment difficulties of adolescents. Moreover, emotional closeness with the closest grandparents moderated the association between adolescent distal adversities and adjustment difficulties. Specifically, the contribution of accumulative stress from adverse life events on the risk of adjustment difficulties among adolescents may be alleviated when adolescents perceived high levels of emotional ties with the closest grandparents. These findings suggest that grandparents can directly relate to grandchildren’s adjustment through engaging emotional relationships. Our study shed lights on the interpretation of the contribution of grandparents to adolescent outcomes and the development of adolescents’ resilience in the face of adversity within the Malaysian cultural context.

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