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Keywords:

  • familism;
  • gender roles;
  • grandmothers;
  • intergenerational support;
  • kinship;
  • maternal employment

The purpose of this study was to construct a conceptual understanding of the motivations of grandmothers and mothers to provide and utilize child care by grandmothers in Korea. Grounded theory methods were used to collect and analyze interview data with 21 matched pairs of caregiving grandmothers and employed mothers. The grandmothers' motivations were concern for their adult children's well-being and a feeling of responsibility to fulfill their parental responsibility for support. The mothers' motivations were the benefits they received as employed mothers and their trust of family care with prior expectations of the grandmothers' support. The core category integrating the findings was bilateral familism supporting traditional gender role ideology. The results suggest that changes from patrilineal to bilateral kinship interactions have been largely based on the influence of familism, which has created a cultural setting of expectations for downstream intergenerational support to maintain traditional gender roles despite increased maternal employment.