Tomorrow! Prof Karen Glaser and Dr Giorgio Di Gessa will speak about “Grandparenting in Europe and the Health Impacts of Caring for Grandchildren” at 12 pm

We are delighted to announce our next SSHM Seminar Series event is coming up tomorrow!

Prof. Karen Glaser and Dr. Giorgio Di Gessa(Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine, KCL) will present their research on ‘Grandparenting in Europe and the Health Impacts of Caring for Grandchildren’ .

The Seminar will place on Wednesday 25th March from 12:00-13:30 (note different time!) in Room S3.05, Strand Building, Strand Campus, King’s College London.

Professor Karen Glaser

Professor Karen Glaser

Abstract: This seminar reports on results from our ESRC funded research project how providing care for grandchildren impacts on the health and wellbeing of grandparents. Promoting the health and wellbeing of older people is a critical policy issue as the population ages, while social, economic and demographic changes across Europe point to an increasing role for grandparents in providing childcare support to families.

Dr Giorgio DiGessa

Dr Giorgio DiGess

Despite competing pressures on older workers to remain in the workforce for longer and to provide care to frail family members, there are additional pressures on grandparents to provide childcare. This is thought to be due to policies encouraging more mothers into the paid workforce, increases in rates of family breakdown and single motherhood, and financial pressures on families. Although previous studies generally support the idea that grandparents provide vital support to families looking after grandchildren, it remains unclear whether caring for grandchildren may come at the cost of grandparents’ own health and well-being. Overall, our evidence suggests a positive relationship between grandparental childcare and health over time using Survey, Health Ageing and Retirement. We will also be reporting work on work from a four year partnership between the Institute of Gerontology, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Grandparents Plus, and the Beth Johnson Foundation which makes a major contribution to our understanding of the demography of grandparenting and the role grandparents play in family life across Europe.

Karen Glaser: After finishing her PhD in Sociology (specialising in demography) at the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, Karen Glaser came to Britain and worked with Professors Emily Grundy and Mike Murphy on the ESRC funded project ‘Intergenerational Relationships and Household Change’. Although her PhD focused on the fertility consequences of cohabiting unions in Costa Rica, she developed a long-standing interest in the family lives of older people through her work on this latter project. She went on to combine her interests in ageing, family structure, marriage and cohabitation, examining them from an international comparative perspective.

Giorgio Di Gessa completed his PhD in Demography at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Supervised by Professor Emily Grundy, his doctoral research investigated the idea of ‘Active Ageing’ promoted by the WHO as a strategy for health and well-being among older people in Europe. In 2011, Giorgio joined the Institute of Gerontology as a post-doctoral researcher to work with Professor Karen Glaser and Dr Debora Price on a Calouste Gulbenkian funded project investigating variations in the way older people care for grandchildren and how policies are related to patterns of grandparenting. This was followed by an ESRC-funded research project –within the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative –exploring the health impact of caring for grandchildren in Europe. Giorgio has recently accepted a Research Associate position with the Wellbeing, Health, Retirement and the Lifecourse project, one of the Extending Working Lives Consortia Grants funded by the ESRC and MRC. Giorgio is examining the complex relationships over time between paid work up to and beyond State Pension Age, and mental and physical health. Such work complements his long-standing academic interest in the field of social gerontology and in particular the demographic and social determinants of health and well-being in later life.​

For more information about our SSHM Seminar Series, please visit:

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1 Response to Tomorrow! Prof Karen Glaser and Dr Giorgio Di Gessa will speak about “Grandparenting in Europe and the Health Impacts of Caring for Grandchildren” at 12 pm

  1. Pingback: Dearest Darlingest Momsie and Popsicle | Roger M. Jones Journal

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