Grandparents' social capital hypothesis: Relationships with grandparents and young adults' trust through kinship support

Jialing MA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The current research investigated how relationships with grandparents were associated with young adults' trust levels. 

Background: To complement the grandmother hypothesis that explains the adaptiveness of human longevity from the perspective of instrumental contributions, a “grandparents' social capital hypothesis” was proposed, indicating that grandparents benefit social capital construction for their grandchildren, the effect of which could be symbolic for young adults. Older adults, who tend to have high levels of trust and the connections within extended family, could have positive impacts on young adults' trust. 

Method: Using convenience sampling, we surveyed 314 Chinese young adults on quality and quantity of their interactions with grandparents, kinship support, and their generalized trust and particularized trust toward relatives through trust games. Path analysis was used to analyze the data. 

Results: Quality of the relationship with grandparents, rather than quantity of contact with them, was related to young adults' higher levels of particularized and generalized trust. Kinship support mediated the associations between high-quality relationships with grandparents and young adults' particularized trust, as well as generalized trust. 

Conclusion: Grandparents could play a symbolic role in social capital accumulation for young adults through the mediation effect of kinship support. 

Implications: These findings provide new evidence supporting older adults' constructive role in human societies and shed light on possible strategies to cultivate social capital in the communities. Copyright © 2024 The Authors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily Relations
Early online dateJan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 2024

Citation

Ma, J. (2024). Grandparents' social capital hypothesis: Relationships with grandparents and young adults' trust through kinship support. Family Relations. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12996

Keywords

  • Adult grandchild
  • Extended family
  • Grandparenting
  • Symbolic interactionism
  • PG student publication

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