Transnational Grandparenting By Minority Ethnic Groups Living in England and Wales

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:42 AM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
Vanessa BURHOLT , Centre for Innovative Ageing, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom
Christina VICTOR , Bruneal Institute of Ageing Studies, Brunel University, London, United Kingdom
BACKGROUND: This paper examines the transnational grandparenting activities of middle aged (40-54) and older people (55+) from six ethnic minority groups living in England and Wales (Black Caribbean, Black African, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese).  Within the sample of 1206 people, there were 1408 transnational relationships (dyads) with relatives overseas. Of the 1408 transnational relationships with relatives only 88 were between grandparents and grandchildren.

METHOD: Frequency and methods of contact (letter writing, telephone calls, ICT, visiting and receiving visitors, sending and receiving gifts, sending and receiving one of gifts of money, sending and receiving regular remittances) were used in exploratory latent profile analysis to identify transnational relationships types for all relative dyads. A four-class model was selected as the best fit to the data. The types of transnational relationships were characterised as Infrequent Digital Communicators; Infrequent Telephone Communicators; Highly Connected Regular Benefactors and Occasional Bilateral-Bounteous-Visitors. Thereafter, our analyses focus on the 88 grandparental transnational relationships. We explore differences between ethnic groups and the gender of the grandparental dyad (e.g. grandmother-granddaughter; grandmother-grandson; grandfather-granddaughter; grandfather-grandson).

RESULTS: Although the numbers are small, trends are observed with regard to differences in grandparental transnational relationship types between ethnic groups. A majority of transnational relationships between Black African grandparents and grandchildren were characterised as Infrequent Telephone Communicators (85%); whereas a majority of relationships between Indian grandparents and grandchildren were characterised as Highly Connected Regular Benefactors. Pakistani and Bangladeshi grandparents were more likely than grandparents in other ethnic groups to be Occasional Bilateral-Bounteous-Visitors. With regard to gender dyads, all transnational relationships were with grandsons and there were no significant differences in relationship types between grandmothers and grandfathers.

IMPLICATIONS: The implications of the findings for intergenerational transmission of cultural values between grandparents and grandchildren are discussed, taking into account the location of the grandchild.