Emotional closeness to parents and grandparents: A moderated mediation model predicting adolescent adjustment.


Warm and emotionally close relationships with parents and grandparents have been found in previous studies to be linked with better adolescent adjustment. The present study, informed by Family Systems Theory and Intergenerational Solidarity Theory, uses a moderated mediation model analyzing the contribution of the dynamics of these intergenerational relationships to adolescent adjustment. Specifically, it examines the mediating role of emotional closeness to the closest grandparent in the relationship between emotional closeness to a parent (the offspring of the closest grandparent) and adolescent adjustment difficulties. The model also examines the moderating role of emotional closeness to parents in the relationship between emotional closeness to grandparents and adjustment difficulties. The study was based on a sample of 1,405 Jewish Israeli secondary school students (ages 12-18) who completed a structured questionnaire. It was found that emotional closeness to the closest grandparent was more strongly associated with reduced adjustment difficulties among adolescents with higher levels of emotional closeness to their parents. In addition, adolescent adjustment and emotional closeness to parents was partially mediated by emotional closeness to grandparents. Examining the family conditions under which adolescents’ relationships with grandparents is stronger and more beneficial for them can help elucidate variations in grandparent-grandchild ties and expand our understanding of the mechanisms that shape child outcomes.