Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Kinship Voices: Listening to Grandparent Caregivers Raising School-Age Children

Pitrone, Andrew/M (2020) Kinship Voices: Listening to Grandparent Caregivers Raising School-Age Children. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (2MB) | Preview


This dissertation focused on the phenomenon of grandparent caregiving within a small town in Pennsylvania. The following descriptor was used to define grandparent caregivers: Grandparent caregivers are grandparents who have gained full or part-time guardianship of one or more school-age grandchildren and co-reside with their grandchildren. Increasingly, grandparents in the United States have been thrust into the role of primary caregiver of their grandchildren (Harnett, Dawe, & Russell, 2014). The wellness of grandchildren raised by their grandparents dominates the scholarship regarding grandparent caregiving. This study aimed to uncover the ways in which grandparent caregivers of school-age children, describe how they navigate various support systems.
This study was phenomenological in nature and consisted of a series of two in-depth and face-to-face phenomenological interviews with each of the seven study participants. A modified version of Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) ecological systems theory was used to illuminate the intricate support pathways that exist within the lives of those who took part in this study. Findings reflect a positive correlation between the relative happiness of grandparent caregivers with the depth of their interpersonal support systems. Further, all of the grandparent caregivers who took part in this study relied upon relationships found within the microsystem e.g. school district personnel, friends, biological parents, and other kin. Grandparent caregivers from five of the seven grandfamilies utilized relationships found within each system of the modified version of Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) ecological systems theory, i.e., the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem.
The implications of this study cast a light on the successful journeys undertaken by a group of rural Pennsylvania grandparent caregivers. School district administrators and faculty will benefit from studying the quality of the interactions throughout the modified version of Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) ecological systems theory. Moreover, school district stakeholders who read this study may feel compelled to include grandparent caregivers in the creation of enhanced professional development opportunities and more inclusive district policies.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pitrone, Andrew/Mamp271@pitt.eduamp271
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcClure, Maureen/Wmmcclure@pitt.edummcclure
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michael/Gmgunzen@pitt.edumgunzen
Committee MemberFerati,
Committee MemberDelgado, Jorgejed41@pitt.edujed41
Date: 17 May 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 December 2019
Approval Date: 17 May 2020
Submission Date: 14 April 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 123
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Creative Self-Efficacy (CSE) Ecological Systems Theory (EST) Grandfamily Grandparent Caregiver Informal Kinship Caregiver Kinship Care Student Assistance Program (SAP)
Date Deposited: 17 May 2020 17:32
Last Modified: 17 May 2020 17:32


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item