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Researchers Awarded $2.5 Million For Custodial Grandparents Study

Posted Mar. 10, 2011

Kent State University is involved in a nearly $2.5 million, multi-site, four-year long clinical trial study in which several mental health interventions will be delivered to custodial grandmothers and then compared.

The study will examine effects on the mental health of these grandmothers and the grandchildren they provide full-time care to in complete absence of the grandchild’s birth parents. Grandparents from diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds throughout Northeast Ohio will be recruited to test for cultural differences in response to these interventions.

This study is important because there is growing evidence that custodial grandchildren are at-risk for psychological difficulties due to neglect and abuse by birth parents, challenges to parenting faced by custodial grandparents, and limited access to needed services.  

This study is funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, a division of the National Institutes of Health, and it is anticipated that more than 500 custodial grandfamilies in four sites across the United States will partake. 

Drs. Gregory Smith (Kent State University) and Bert Hayslip Jr. (University of North Texas, Denton) are the lead investigators for this study, with the research team also including Drs. Julian Montoro-Rodriguez (California State University, San Bernardino) and Frederick Strieder (University of Maryland, Baltimore). Dr. Karie Feldman (Kent State University) is the Project Director.

For more information, contact Dr. Karie Feldman, project director of the Custodial Grandparent Study, at 330-672-3029 or

Information on Kent State’s College of Education, Health, and Human Services is available at

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Media Contacts:
Karie Feldman,, 330-672-3029
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595