(Echt)scheiding en grootouders - Welke problemen hebben grootouders ervaren rondom de scheiding van hun kinderen? Welke invloed heeft de scheiding gehad op het contact met hun kleinkinderen?
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Background: Grandparents are very important in several ways for their children and grandchildren during a divorce process. In addition grandparents experience various consequences as a result of the divorce. This study examines different problems (organizational, emotional, behavioural and financial) grandparents meet around the divorce of their children. Furthermore the changes, before and after the divorce, in quantitative (frequency) and qualitative (support) contact with their grandchildren will be examined. The role gender differences and the difference between maternal and paternal grandparents play regarding quantitative contact will also be explored. Besides, the differences in quantitative and qualitative contact considering the residential address of the grandchild will be examined. Method: This study is partly exploring and partly testing. Participants in this population-based sample were grandparents from different regions in the Netherlands whose children were divorced. The sample comprised 100 participants (42 grandfathers, 58 grandmothers - 46 paternal grandparents and 54 maternal grandparents). Existing instruments as well as self-composed instruments were used. Results: Grandparents seemed to have significantly more emotional, organizational and financial problems after the divorce of their children compared to the period before the divorce. The hypothesis that grandparents would have more behavioural problems after the divorce was falsified by the results; grandparents had significantly less behavioural problems after the divorce of their children compared to before the divorce. Grandparents’ frequency in contact with their grandchildren did not diminish after the divorce. But the frequency in contact of grandchildren with their paternal grandparents declined significantly after the divorce. Furthermore, grandparents supported their grandchildren and children significantly more after the divorce than before. Conclusion: Grandparents suffer after the divorce of their children. It affects their emotional health, requires financial contributions and leads to organizational adjustments and sacrifices. These findings underline the oddity of not drawing grandparents into psychological healthcare.