Preschoolers' attachment to grandparent caregivers
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Currently, there are over 2.4 million children in the United States living in the custodial care of their grandparents. Grandparents as caregivers and the problems their grandchildren face have received little attention in developmental research. The purpose of this paper is to address the possibility that secure attachment relationships with grandparents can serve as a protective factor against the risks of disrupted attachments with parents. In order to address this question, a framework is proposed that combines central elements of two differing perspectives on young children’s relationships, traditional attachment theory, and a social network model. An example of how this model can be used to investigate important developmental questions is outlined.