ERIC Number: ED223355
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
Grandmothering as a "Tenuous" Role Relationship.
Fischer, Lucy Rose; Silverman, Jane
Grandmothering has been described as a "tenuous" role in modern families in that grandparenting is specified as a symbolic linkage but is ambiguous in terms of behavioral expectations. This paper addresses the following question: How do role relational partners modulate their own behavior when there is ambiguity in expectations for interaction? The pilot study reported here examines patterns of consensus and dissension about grandparenthood by comparing the responses of (1) mothers and grandmothers and (2) maternal and paternal grandmothers. "Tenuous" role relationships were expected to be characterized by consensus on the symbolic structure of the relationship and dissension on the expectations for interaction. The sample consisted of 30 family "cases" with maternal and/or paternal grandmothers residing locally -- yielding 44 mother-grandmother dyads. Tape recorded telephone interviews were conducted with 30 mothers, 20 maternal grandmothers, and 24 paternal grandmothers. The interviews focused on expectations for interaction. The mothers and grandmothers were given an equivalent series of five scenarios referring to possible types of interactions: babysitting (daytime-emergency and evening-entertainment), advice-giving, playing, and discipline. For each scenario, the respondents were asked to tell what hypothetically they would do and to describe comparable situations. The interviews also included a number of background questions and a few open-ended questions about the symbolic nature of grandparental relationships. Results are discussed. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Graduate School.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Role Ambiguity