Full Text PA-95-086

GRANDPARENTING:  ISSUES FOR AGING RESEARCH

NIH GUIDE, Volume 24, Number 32, September 1, 1995

PA NUMBER:  PA-95-086

P.T. 34

Keywords: 
  Aging/Gerontology 
  Sociology 


National Institute on Aging

PURPOSE

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) invites qualified researchers
to submit applications for research projects grants to investigate
the nature and influence of grandparenting for individual older
people, families, and the larger society.  This Program Announcement
(PA) further specifies, but does not replace, the ongoing NIA PA on
Health and Effective Functioning in the Middle and Later Years
(PA-93-076).  Five broad areas of aging research are identified;

1.  Grandparents in an aging society:  e.g., macrosocial studies,
demographic analyses, and economic research;

2.  Grandparents in the family unit:  e.g., family relationships,
caregiving, family change;

3.  Grandparents in the network of aging social, community, and legal
affiliations:  e.g., churches, aging support and advocacy groups,
neighborhood organizations, school-affiliated groups.

4.  Grandparents as aging individuals:  e.g., roles, expectations,
and identity of grandparents;

5.  Special populations and grandparents in special circumstances:
e.g., minority families, custodial grandparents, great-grandparents,
and impoverished families.

HEALTHY PEOPLE

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This PA,
Grandparenting:  Issues for Aging Research, is related to the
priority area of age-related objectives for older adults.  Potential
applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full Report:
Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock No.
017-001-004730-01) through the Superintendent of Documents,
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone
202/512-1800).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications for research grants may be submitted by foreign and
domestic, public and private, for-profit and non-profit
organizations, such as universities, colleges, hospitals,
laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible
agencies of the Federal government.  Foreign institutions are not
eligible for First Independent Research Support and Transition
(FIRST) (R29) awards.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women and
persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The primary mechanisms for support of this initiative are the
research project grant (R01) and the FIRST award (R29).  Because the
nature and scope of the research proposed in response to this PA may
vary, it is anticipated that the size of awards will vary also.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Grandparents have always been acknowledged as influential in family
life and grandparenthood has been a marker of aging within society.
However, only within the last half century has increasing longevity
meant that most older people live long enough to become grandparents,
that these elders continue as robust and active in family life and
society, and that grandparenthood is now a status and role affecting
middle-aged adults through the oldest old.  Estimates as early as the
1970s show that 70 percent of elders are grandparents, but little is
known about the ages, gender, social composition, and psychosocial
impact of grandparenting on individuals, families, and the society.
Aging research is therefore needed on a range of topics relevant to
the health and well-being of older parents who are also grandparents.

Most prior research on grandparents has focused on their impact on
younger generations (e.g. the effect of grandparents as caregivers on
the development of young children) or without a clear basis in
theories of aging or a social gerontology perspective.  For example,
it is known that grandparents provide care for other family members,
particularly grandchildren, either on a part-time, day care basis or
as a custodial caregiver.  In 1990, 4.2 million children lived with
grandparents and in one third of these homes, the child's parents
were absent.  However, the relevance of these arrangements for older
people themselves is increasingly a topic for aging research.
Methodologically, grandparenting research has relied principally on
descriptive methodologies and convenience samples to call attention
to the grandparenting role.  Such approaches are often appropriate
and necessary for an emerging topic, but further studies need to be
developed that may include comparison groups of grandparents and
persons of comparable age, gender, social class, ethnicity, or who
are without grandchildren or childless; that test theoretically-based
models; or make use of more complex analysis techniques.  National
data and analysis of existing data sets may be fruitful.
Methodologies that move beyond narrative or description are
encouraged.

Applications appropriate to this PA are not restricted to any
specific discipline, but should be focused on well-articulated
theoretical approaches and methodologies in aging to elucidate issues
specifically related to grandparents or grandparenting roles.
Research is encouraged that specifies conceptual approaches to
grandparenting within aging research and would give the field a
strong base of scientific methodologies and data.  Researchers are
urged to design innovative strategies for this emerging area of study
that may include qualitative approaches, use of available data sets,
or targeted survey strategies.  Of particular value would be studies
comparing older age groups because the grandparenting role may vary
with the age and aging-related circumstances of the older individual.
When supported by empirical data from prior research, applications
that include intervention projects may be submitted.

Examples of Research Topics

Studies of grandparents in society may involve a range of societal
level issues and methodologies.  For example:

o  Studies may be based on demographic or macrosocial methodologies
and population projections of the number and characteristics of
grandparents; health economic research and/or data analyses of
intergenerational exchanges, (e.g., exchange of goods, services, and
time across the life course) particularly because becoming a
grandparent may modify such exchanges; the impact of societal changes
(e.g., inheritance, mandatory family leave) on family interactions;
work roles and labor force impact of older people because they may
affect grandparenting and grandparents decisions about employment or
family leave to care for grandchildren; political concerns and
activities of grandparents including legal issues of visitation and
custodial rights; patterns of housing and transportation arrangements
and needs related to grandparenting; public assistance for care of
grandchildren.

o  Organizational membership and a wide range of social affiliations,
particularly those that are focused on older people, are influenced
by the entry of a member into the role of being a grandparent.
Studies of these may include research on newly- emerging recreational
events and intergenerational camps, classes on grandparenting and how
to write a "history" for ones grandchildren, church-based or
school-sponsored intergenerational activities.  For those
grandparents encountering problems with custodianship, there is now a
wide network of support groups and information services that have not
been studied.  Also unexplored are the use of aging and health
services as they might be affected by grandparents' need to care for
their own health as well as that of dependent children.

o  Within the family, grandparenting research may focus on the role
of older people in the aging and intergenerational family unit.  This
may include studies of family relationships and attitudes over time;
grandparents as caregivers and receivers of care; studies of
grandparents' behaviors and attitudes as influences on socialization
of younger family members, family well-being, and affection;
grandparenting as affected by family change such as divorce (of any
generation), geographic and economic mobility, remarriage,
retirement; studies of the effects of family disruptions,
intergenerational conflict, hostility, or isolation on the physical
and overall well-being of grandparents; relationship between the
"middle" generation (adult child) and their parents (the
grandparents) for the grandparenting role and level of involvement
with a grandchild.

o  Research on grandparents as aging individuals includes study of
aspects of the role and status of grandparenting as part of an
individual's identity as an older person as well as possible
relationship to level of physical functioning and well-being.
Studies in this area might consider how becoming and being a
grandparent affects self-perceptions, changes in self-expectations
with grandparenthood; overall psychological well-being; self concept
related to "off time"  and "on time" grandparenthood (becoming a
grandparent at a very early or older age versus at an expected age)
in age comparative studies; sense of control over or frustration with
grandparenting obligations.

o  Special populations and special circumstances for grandparents
suggest need for research on those issues that may create strain or
stress for aging families, or that may result in greater family
involvement of grandparents.  For example:

1.  Ethnic and cultural minority families with patterns of and
expectations for grandparenting that are uniquely tied to cultural
patterns; grandparents in immigrant or refugee families; families
with language barriers between generations.

2.  The oldest old are recently recognized as a special population,
yet almost no research exists exploring the relationships among four
or five generations of family members (great-grandparents), nor on
the increasing number of grandparents who are caregivers for their
aging parents as well as younger children.

3.  The special circumstances, the needs and contributions, of
grandparents who serve as parent surrogates (grandparents rearing
grandchildren) particularly when the parental absence is due to
substance abuse, AIDs, incarceration, or desertion.

4.  Poverty and its consequences for grandparents, which affect
elders through multi-generational household living arrangements,
public assistance, or other strategies for shared resources among
generations.  The role of grandparents in such circumstances is a
neglected area of aging research.

5.  Non-family intergenerational relationships are often patterned on
grandparenting.  New forms of intergenerational programs include
combined-age day care, foster grandparents, and community-based or
school-initiated "proms" and interactions. Also needed is research on
grandparents organizations such as voluntary associations and/or
advocacy groups.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN
SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups
and their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported
biomedical and behavioral research projects involving human subjects,
unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided
that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the
subjects or the purpose of the research.  This new policy results
from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law
103-43) and supersedes and strengthens the previous policies
(Concerning the Inclusion of Women in Study Populations, and
Concerning the Inclusion of Minorities in Study Populations) which
have been in effect since 1990.  The new policy contains some new
provisions that are substantially different from the 1990 policies.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should
read the "NIH Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as
Subjects in Clinical Research", which have been published in the
Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508-14513), and reprinted
in the NIH GUIDE FOR GRANTS AND CONTRACT of March 18, 1994, Volume
23, Number 11.

Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program
staff listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide
additional relevant information concerning the policy.  (NOTE:  When
the proposed study involves a gender specific study or a single or
limited number of minority population groups, this should also be
stated to inform reviewers.)

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Researchers who are considering preparing an application in response
to this  program
announcement are invited, but not required, to discuss their project
and possible
grant mechanisms with NIA staff in advance of formal submission.
This can be done by telephone, mail, or email.

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used
in applying for these grants and will be accepted at the standard
application deadlines as indicated in the application kit.  These
forms are available at most institutional offices of sponsored
research; from the Office of Grants Information, Division of Research
Grants, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room
3032 - MSC-7762, Bethesda, MD 20892-7762, telephone 301/435-0714; and
from the program administrator listed under INQUIRIES.

The PA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of
the application form and the YES box must be marked.

FIRST (R29) award applications must include at least three sealed
letters of reference attached to the face page of the original
application.  FIRST award applications submitted without the required
number of reference letters will be considered incomplete and will be
returned without review.

The original and five copies must be mailed to:

DIVISION OF RESEARCH GRANTS
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040-MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for courier/overnight service)

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established Public
Health Service referral guidelines.  Applications will be reviewed
for scientific and technical merit in accordance with the standard
NIH peer review procedures.  Applications that are complete and
responsive to the program announcement will be evaluated for
scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group
convened in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures.
As part of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a
written critique and undergo a process in which only those
applications deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally
the top half of applications under review, will be discussed,
assigned a priority score, and receive a second level review by the
appropriate national advisory council or board.

Review Criteria

o  scientific, technical, or medical significance and originality of
proposed research;

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the experimental approach and
methodology proposed to carry out the research;

o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal
Investigator and staff, particularly, but not exclusively, in the
area of the proposed research;

o  availability of the resources necessary to perform the research;

o  appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to
the proposed research;

o  adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities and their
subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research.
Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be
evaluated.

o  the initial review group will also examine the proposed study for
the protection of human subjects and the safety of the research
environment.

Following scientific-technical review, the applications will receive
a second-level review by the appropriate national advisory council.

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved
applications.  The following will be considered in making funding
decisions:

o  Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review
o  Availability of funds
o  Program balance among research areas of the program announcement

INQUIRIES

Written and telephone inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to
clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Katrina W. Johnson, Ph.D.
Behavioral And Social Research Program
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 533
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 402-4156
For copy of announcement:  (301) 496-3136 (press 2)
FAX:  (301) 402-0051
Email:  Katrina_Johnson@NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Vicki Maurer
Grants Management Office
National Institute on Aging
Gateway Building, Room 2N212
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1472
Email:  Vicki_Maurer@NIH.GOV

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) supports basic,
clinical, and services research on  topics that are relevant to the
study of grandparenting.  Inquiries about NIMH's sponsorship of these
activities may be directed to:

Della M. Hann, Ph.D.
Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Science
National Institute of Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 11C-16
Rockville, MD  20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-3942
FAX:  (301) 443-4822
Email:  dh31d@NIH.GOV

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.866, Aging Research.  Awards are made under
authorization of the Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A
(Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and
285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal
Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not
subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive
Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to
provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco
products.  In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of
1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any
portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education,
library, day care, health care or early childhood development
services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the PHS
mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the
American people.

.

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