The authors present and discuss their latest academic findings from the extensive research carried out at the Department of Sociology in articles in national and international journals, books, contributions in edited volumes, working papers, etc.

Is there a rejuvenating effect of (grand)childcare? A longitudinal study on German data

V Bordone, B Arpino


Provision of grandchild care has been found to be associated with a youthful subjective age. Yet, previous studies on this topic were cross-sectional and ignored the increasing proportions of older people growing old without the opportunity to become a grandparent. This study investigates the effects of childcare to grandchildren and to other children on subjective age using panel data.

We exploit the longitudinal nature of data from the German Ageing Survey (DEAS) to examine the association between grandparental childcare and care to other children with subjective age, using fixed-effects regression analyses on a sample of 50–85 years old individuals (men: N = 11,151; n = 3,984; women: N = 10,687; n = 3,746, where N is the number of observations and n is the number of individuals).

The results from cross-sectional analyses show a “rejuvenating effect” of provision of both types of childcare in later life, especially for women. However, longitudinal analyses find very small and statistically insignificant effects.

We show for the first time that both grandchild care and childcare outside the grandparent–grandchild relationship are associated with a youthful subjective age for older people. However, these associations are likely due to selection effects, that is, unobserved characteristics of people that make them more likely to engage in childcare and are also associated with subjective age. Our results warn against causal interpretation of associations found in previous studies, but also open up new research questions on the role played by childcare other than to grandchildren.

Department of Sociology
External organisation(s)
Università degli Studi di Firenze
The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
504006 Demography, 509005 Gerontology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Health(social science), Life-span and Life-course Studies, Sociology and Political Science
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