Caring for Others as a Positive Experience
Dr. Frederick H. Strieder at UMB and investigators at 3 other universities across the country collaborated on a $2.5 million, four-year long study of interventions designed to provide support, education and skills in grandparent-headed households. This research was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, a division of the National Institutes of Health, and recruited more than 300 custodial grandfamilies in Ohio, Texas, California, and Maryland.
Support of the COPE grant project has benefited the state and jurisdictions in important ways. Involvement in COPE has supported the first large scale rigorous investigation of psychological interventions for custodial grandmothers. It has helped identify the most effective interventions for custodial grandmothers and their grandchildren, expanding the knowledge base and fostering implementation of an evidence-supported intervention for these important, at-risk populations.
Grandmothers raising grandchildren were randomized into participation in one of three psychosocial and educational programs, specially adapted for this population. All used a small group format (8-10 adults) and were co-facilitated by a social worker or mental health provider and a peer grandmother. Groups met once a week for about 2 hours over a 10 week period. The interventions chosen to use and evaluate were:
- Coping With Caregiving (CWC);
- "Triple P" Positive Parenting Program; and
- GRASP (Grandparent Resource And Support Program).
These programs with the grandmothers were hypothesized to positively affect the psychosocial adjustment of the grandchildren. Thus, each participant elected one co-resident grandchild to take part in the child-level outcomes measures. Interviews with the grandmothers and grandchildren were conducted before the interventions began, shortly after they ended, and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months post intervention. Interviews with the grandmother consisted of administration of both a telephone and an in-person component. After the face-to-face grandmother interview, we also had a brief interview with the grandchild and recorded the dyad engaging in a cooperative play.
There was no cost for participation. We provided childcare and light meals during the group meetings and paid $35 for each of the 6 sets of interviews and play sessions.
Group leaders received paid training in one of the models as well as a stipend for conducting each group.