Grand parenting in Zambia: Prevalence,beliefs about sensitive care and quality of Childcare
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The main purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and predictors of grand parental involvement, predictors of intergenerational transmission and quality of childcare by grandparents in Zambia. Grandparents are an important part of kin relationships participating in care of children. However, there have been very few studies that have investigated grand parental involvement in childcare in Zambia, sensitive parenting beliefs and quality of care offered by grandmothers. This study was conducted in three phases. It was hypothesised that Zambian grandparents provide more care for their grandchildren compared to their Dutch counterparts. Secondly, it was hypothesised that increased grandparental involvement in child care is associated with more child attachment security to their grandparent. It was also hypothesised that there is a positive relation between the extent to which grandmothers and mothers view the ideal mother as a sensitive mother. Further, it was hypothesised that more favourable socio-economic characteristics of both the grandmother and the mother predict maternal parenting beliefs favouring sensitive parenting. Self-report measures, maternal behaviour Q-sort and observational video data were used to assess grandparental involvement, grandmaternal and maternal beliefs about sensitive parenting, intergenerational transmission and quality of care. Results revealed a high prevalence of grandparental involvement in childcare in both Zambia and the Netherlands. There were significant differences between the Dutch and Zambian maternal grandparents in terms of total care-giving t (6.20) = 278, p <.01. v Comparisons in specific care domains revealed that Zambian grandparents performed more toilet training, protection from accidents and care during illness while Dutch grandparents did more of playing with their grandchildren. Specifically, grandparental involvement was strongly predicted by attachment. However, socio-economic status did not predict grandparental involvement in childcare. Secondly, our findings revealed that mothers’ description of the ideal mother were closer to criterion descriptions of the sensitive mother when she had fewer siblings and when her mother had a higher socio-economic position in terms of more home possessions and facilities. The study also found that the intergenerational transmission of sensitivity beliefs was moderated by maternal educational level, revealing a strong positive association between grandmaternal and maternal sensitivity beliefs only in the mothers with a lower educational level. The study also revealed that grandmothers with more children and those who enjoyed the grandparenting tasks more, showed more sensitive interactions with their grandchildren. Unexpectedly, parenting beliefs favouring sensitive parenting predicted lower observed sensitivity in grandmothers. Further, grandmothers with a more individualistic cultural orientation were more intrusive towards their grandchildren. In conclusion, grandparental involvement in childcare is existent in both Zambia and the Netherlands. The study also provides evidence that mothers' sensitivity beliefs are predicted by grandmother characteristics. The results further underscore the importance of sensitive parenting among grandmothers.