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Keywords:

  • adolescent mothers;
  • grandparents;
  • multigenerational;
  • parenting;
  • poor families;
  • rural

This study draws data from the Family Life Project to examine parenting behaviors observed for 105 mothers and grandmothers raising an infant in rural low-income multigenerational households. Multilevel models are used to examine the relationships between maternal age and psychological distress and parenting of the infant by both generations. The findings indicate that young maternal age is a risk factor for less sensitive parenting in the presence of other risks, including psychological distress. Further, young maternal age is associated with negative parenting behaviors by grandmothers only. Grandmothers and mothers displayed similar levels of negative intrusive parenting, but different factors were linked to the observed parenting of each generation. These findings contribute to understanding the benefits and risks of three-generation households.