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Women Who Care for Grandchildren May Be at Risk for Depression

Six-year study of Ohio grandmothers found effect persisted over time

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Grandmothers who provide full-time care for their grandchildren are at risk for family strain and depression, a new study says.

The study included 240 Ohio grandmothers, average age 57, who were followed for 6.5 years to see how caring for grandchildren aged 16 and younger affected their health. Some of the grandmothers provided full-time care, some lived in multi-generational homes and assisted in their grandchildren's care, and others provided no care for their grandchildren.

"Although we expected the primary caregiver grandmothers raising grandchildren would have more strain and depressive symptoms, we were surprised at how persistent these were over the years examined in the study," study author Carol Musil, a professor of nursing at Case Western Reserve University, said in a university news release.

The researchers also found that the grandmothers in the study were generally open to receiving help, which suggests that they might welcome training to help reduce the risk of depression.

"They need support from others, but the most important thing is to maintain and perhaps develop new [thinking] and behavioral skills and approaches for handling some very challenging family issues," Musil said.

The study was published in a recent issue of the journal Nursing Outlook.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers advice for grandparents raising grandchildren.

SOURCE: Case Western Reserve University, news release, Aug. 21, 2013

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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