Feinian Chen has received five years of funding for research on grandparents' caregiving in China as a Mentored Research Career Award (K01) from the National Institute of Health (NIH). This career development award focuses on issues of grandparent caregiving for grandchildren. The proposed research focuses on China, a setting where it is normative for grandparents to provide routine care for grandchildren. Dr. Chen uses a longitudinal dataset, the China Health and Nutrition Survey, a panel survey with data from eight provinces in China. The survey includes detailed data on childcare and a wide range of health measures. The specific aims are as follows: Aim 1: Describe the scope of grandparent caregivng in China, including the proportion of children cared for by grandparents and the level of caregiving responsibilities of grandparents. Aim 2: Examine factors associated with grandparent caregiving in China, including the intensity of the mother’s work load, grandparents’ characteristics, and various structural and contextual factors. Aim 3: Evaluate the relationship between grandparent caregiving and health in China, including both immediate and long-term consequences of grandparent caregiving on various measures of health outcomes. Aim 4: Design measures and collect original data on mental health of elderly in China, with the purpose of further documenting the relationship between grandparents caregiving and their well-being.
The work has yielded two publications so far :“The health implications of grandparents caring for grandchild in China,” published in the Journal of Gerontology in 2012, and “Intergenerational ties in context: Grandparents caring for grandchildren in China,” published in Social Forces in 2011.