Communication Studies, Department of


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Published in Communication Monographs 73:1 (March 2006), pp. 87–107; doi: 10.1080/03637750500534388 Copyright © 2006 National Communication Association; published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This study investigated communicative and relational aspects of the grandparent–grandchild relationship that lead to perceptions of age salience and shared family identity with the grandparent. The perceptions represent manifestations of inter- and intragroup levels of categorization in dealing with the other family member. The association between these group-oriented categorizations and perceptions of intergenerational contact outside of the family was examined. Participants (N = 369) completed questionnaires assessing perceptions of experiences with multiple grandparents. Findings showed that general family identification of the grandchild, parental encouragement, and personal communication (social support and reciprocal self-disclosure) are positively associated with perceptions of shared family identity, whereas intergroup communication (under/overaccommodation) and perceptions of impaired health are associated with age salience. Results suggest that age salience may moderate the relationship between shared family identity and perceptions of older adults in some circumstances

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