• grandparent;
  • caregiver;
  • health;
  • stress;
  • social support;
  • coping;
  • empowerment

Aim. To provide a critical review of research literature on the health of grandparents raising grandchildren, and identify directions for future research.

Methods. Approaches used to access the research studies for this review included a comprehensive search using relevant electronic databases and a thorough examination of the references in each published study.

Findings. All studies but one were published after 1990. Samples consisted primarily of African-American and Caucasian grandmothers in the United States of America. Earlier studies tended to describe health and other related concepts while more recent studies began to examine relationships between concepts. Most of the studies had a cross-sectional design and only one evaluated interventions. Inconsistencies in the results of these studies were prevalent.

Conclusions. Evaluation studies, longitudinal designs, and more varied study samples including cross-cultural comparisons are needed to advance knowledge about grandparent caregivers’ health.