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Study looks to discover effects of full time childcare on grandparents

As National Grandparents’ Day puts grandparents in the spotlight a new study being conducted by Bond University aims to discover the effects full time childcare has on this care group. 

Director of Clinical and Forensic Psychology Dr Rebekah Doley is seeking participants for the study and explained when parents are unable to care for their children, due to health or safety reasons, the alternatives for child care are limited and often responsibility falls with the child’s grandparents.

“The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated in 2006 over 22 000 grandparents in Australia were raising more than 30 000 grandchildren,” said Dr Doley.

“It is expected these figures are much higher these days and frequently these arrangements are made informally and therefore statistics are considered an underestimate.”

Dr Doley would like to pinpoint exactly how putting retirement on hold and reverting back to full time child care affects the people in this position.

“While some grandparents report a closer and more fulfilling relationship with their grandchildren, they also tend to experience poorer physical health, role overload and more isolation from aged peers and non-custodial grandchildren,” said Dr Doley.

“Little has been done to determine the best way to support grandparents undertaking this vital role in our community.”

Doley hopes to change this through her study and increase the support in place to assist this parenting group.

“Australian policies have not kept up with addressing the unique challenges faced by this parent group. To date there is no current specialised government aid agencies for this parenting group,” said Dr Doley.

“In order to advise appropriate interventions and policy we need to fully understand what needs and demands this parenting group has.”

Dr Doley is seeking grandparents who are fulltime or part-time carers for grandchildren and are willing to share their experiences. Participation in the study involves a brief survey and a short interview. Each individual participant will be rewarded with a Coles gift card. 

National Grandparents’ Day will take place on November 6, 2011 with community events and initiatives schedules throughout the country.

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