Determinants of caregiving grandparents' physical activity and sedentary behavior: a qualitative study using focus group discussions

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BACKGROUND: Evidence on the factors influencing physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) in middle-aged and older adults taking care of their grandchild(ren) is limited, even though this knowledge seems imperative when considering the unique relationship between grandparents and their grandchild(ren) as well as the rising popularity of intergenerational interventions targeting these energy-expenditure related behaviors. Therefore, this explorative qualitative study aimed to identify the determinants of PA and SB levels among Flemish caregiving grandparents in the presence of their grandchild(ren) aged between 0-5 years.

METHODS: Six online focus group discussions were conducted via Microsoft Teams, all of which were audio- and videotaped with permission granted by the participating grandparents. In total, nine caregiving grandfathers and 28 caregiving grandmothers (overall mean age = 60.9 ± 4.1y) participated in this study. An inductive content analysis approach was used to derive subcategories, categories and themes from the verbatim transcribed data using NVivo R1.

RESULTS: Caregiving grandparents' levels of PA and SB were both influenced by personal determinants (e.g., physical health, grandparental perceptions and responsibilities), interpersonal determinants (e.g., characteristics of the grandchild(ren), such as age-related physical/motor development and family interaction), and environmental determinants (e.g., weather and seasonal circumstances). PA levels of caregiving grandparents were further affected by additional personal determinants (e.g., age of the grandparent, planning and location) and interpersonal determinants (e.g., characteristics of the grandchild(ren), such as new experiences of the grandchild(ren)). Additionally, some personal determinants (e.g., perception of educational value) and interpersonal determinants (e.g., characteristics of the grandchild(ren), such as age-related cognitive development and health of the grandchild(ren)) were strictly mentioned to influence caregiving grandparents' SB.

CONCLUSIONS: Acknowledging the unique relationship between grandparents and their grandchild(ren), the current study identified specific factors determining grandparents' PA and SB levels during the provision of grandchild care. Besides, it turned out of importance to take the interplay between the different determinants into account. Especially, for those grandparents with older grandchild(ren), within the studied 0-5 years age range, more attention should be paid to grandchild characteristics as part of the interpersonal determinants when setting up interventions to improve levels of PA and SB in caregiving grandparents.

Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer20
Pagina's (van-tot)1-17
Aantal pagina's17
TijdschriftEuropean Review of Aging and Physical Activity
Volume20
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
DOI's
StatusPublished - okt 2023

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© 2023. European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity (EGRIPA).

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