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Keywords:

  • early childhood;
  • grandparents;
  • multigenerational families;
  • parent-child relationships;
  • relationship conflict

Mutigenerational households that include grandmothers and adult mothers caring for grandchildren are increasingly common. The influence, however, of mother-grandmother relationship quality and grandmothers' parenting on grandchildren's social development remains largely unexplored in these three-generation households. This study examines linkages among caregiver depressive symptoms, mother-grandmother verbal conflict, observed parenting, and 36-month-old grandchildren's problem and prosocial behaviors among a subsample from the Family Life Project (N = 85) consisting of economically disadvantaged multigenerational families. The findings suggest that mother-grandmother relationship conflict presents a risk to children's behavior directly and indirectly via mothers' negative parenting behaviors. Mothers seem to be more influenced by the mother-grandmother relationship than grandmothers. These results highlight the importance of including mother-grandmother conflict in mutigenerational families in family assessments and interventions.