To evaluate the associations between the presence of a grand parent at home that is three-generation household, with children mental health in diverse countries whether this situation is frequent or not.
Data from the School Children Mental Health in Europe cross-sectional survey in six countries (n = 4582) were used to examine the association between three-generation households and child mental health across Europe. The parent and teacher Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was combined to assess child mental clinical problems.
Overall, 25.13% of European families live with at least one grandparent: 5.46% in Western and 29.70% in Eastern Europe. Controlling for key sociodemographic variables and for country of residence, the presence of a grandparent is associated with an increased risk for child mental health problems in the total sample (OR 1.37, p = 0.002). In two-parent homes, the effect of the presence of a grandparent is significant (OR 1.40, p = 0.026), while it is not in single-parent homes. In each country, the presence of a grandparent is a risk for either externalizing or internalizing problems.
Programs may be developed to educate elderly people to better respect their children’s role as parents so having a grandparent in the home can become an asset for family members rather than a burden.