A systematic review of grandparents’ influence on grandchildren’s cancer risk factors

Chambers, S. A. , Rowa-Dewar, N., Radley, A. and Dobbie, F. (2017) A systematic review of grandparents’ influence on grandchildren’s cancer risk factors. PLoS ONE, 12(11), e0815420. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185420) (PMID:29135979) (PMCID:PMC5685489)

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Many lifestyle patterns are established when children are young. Research has focused on the potential role of parents as a risk factor for non communicable disease in children, but there is limited investigation of the role of other caregivers, such as grandparents. The aim of this review was to identify and synthesise evidence for any influence grandparents’ care practices may have on their grandchildren’s long term cancer risk factors. A systematic review was carried out with searches across four databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, PsycINFO) as well as searches of reference lists and citing articles, and Google Scholar. Search terms were based on six areas of risk that family care could potentially influence–weight, diet, physical activity, tobacco, alcohol and sun exposure. All study designs were included, as were studies that provided an indication of the interaction of grandparents with their grandchildren. Studies were excluded if grandparents were primary caregivers and if children had serious health conditions. Study quality was assessed using National Institute for Health and Care Excellence checklists. Grandparent impact was categorised as beneficial, adverse, mixed or as having no impact. Due to study heterogeneity a meta-analysis was not possible. Qualitative studies underwent a thematic synthesis of their results. Results from all included studies indicated that there was a sufficient evidence base for weight, diet, physical activity and tobacco studies to draw conclusions about grandparents’ influence. One study examined alcohol and no studies examined sun exposure. Evidence indicated that, overall, grandparents had an adverse impact on their grandchildren’s cancer risk factors. The theoretical work in the included studies was limited. Theoretically underpinned interventions designed to reduce these risk factors must consider grandparents’ role, as well as parents’, and be evaluated robustly to inform the evidence base further.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Chambers, Dr Stephanie
Authors: Chambers, S. A., Rowa-Dewar, N., Radley, A., and Dobbie, F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Chambers et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 12(11):e0815420
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
681781Growing GrandchildrenStephanie ChambersCancer Research UK (CRUK)19672SPS - INST. OF HEALTH & WELLBEING
620221MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727641SPHSU Core Renewal: Setting and Health Improvement Research ProgrammeKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU