Shared stories of the grandparent-grandchild relationship

J. F. Nussbaum, L. M. Bettini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


This research examined the storytelling that oftentimes characterizes interaction between grandparent and grandchild. Close to 120 individuals (college students) audiotaped an interaction with one of their grandparents. They were asked to have their grandparent first 'tell a story that captures the meaning of life' for them. In addition, the grandparent was asked to complete the phrase, 'To me, life is like .' the students were asked to tell their grandparent 'a story that captured the essence of their life at this time in their life.' Students were divided into similar numbers of same and mixed sex grandparent-grandchild relationships. The audiotaped interactions were content analyzed. A major assumption of this investigation is that the story which each individual chooses to share with their relational partner reveals to some extent the definitional nature of their relationship. Results of the storysharing interaction across relations revealed some gender differences in the types of stories grandparents share with their grandchildren. The implications of the shared stories upon the relational dynamics of the grandparent-grandchild relationship are discussed. In addition, the metaphors used by the grandparents to describe life in the presence of their grandchildren are analyzed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-80
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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