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Social Determinants of Health’s Impact on Grandparent Caregivers’ Health Outcomes

Research Team

Jen’nea Sumo, Principal Investigator, RUSH CON

Award Period

09/01/17 – 08/31/18

Funding Source

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Grandparent caregivers are at increased risk for stress and poorer health outcomes than non-caregiving grandparents. The goal of this secondary data analysis study is to identify the degree to which grandparent caregivers differ from non-caregiving adults on social determinants of health and health outcomes. Data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study will be used to evaluate the relationship between caregiving status, social determinants of health, and health outcomes. An adaptation of Schultz’s social determinants of health and health promotion model underpins this study. The model illustrates that caregiving status has a direct effect on the social determinants of health and health outcomes. Additionally, the model shows that social determinants of health (stress, social support, health behavior) have direct effects on one another and on health outcomes (mental and physical health) and will mediate the relationship between grandparent caregiving status and health outcomes. This research aligns with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Action Framework. This study adds to the knowledge regarding the creation of a culture of health for grandparent caregivers and their families. To build a culture of health, those who have the capacity to be healthy must be equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to work toward achieving their optimal health goals. The findings from this study will inform future health promotion intervention programs designed to improve the health of grandparent caregivers. Grandparent caregivers are vital participants within their families and understanding and assisting this grandparent population may be an effective strategy for improving outcomes for grandparents, their children, and grandchildren.