A New Niche? The Theory of Grandfather Involvement

  • David A. CoallEmail author
  • Sonja Hilbrand
  • Rebecca Sear
  • Ralph Hertwig
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


A multitude of factors influence the role a grandfather plays in his family. This chapter presents an interdisciplinary perspective of grandfathering, incorporating research from the fields of evolutionary biology, sociology, economics and psychology. Examples will be used to show how these perspectives complement rather than compete with each other. A range of influences on grandfathering operating at the individual, familial and broader economic and cultural levels will be examined. Evidence points to grandfathering filling a new niche in modern societies: changing demographics mean there is greater need and opportunity for actively engaged grandfathers to help their families, especially in times of need. Recent empirical findings will be used to illustrate these points, providing a basis for the more detailed information presented throughout the following chapters.


Grandfathers Interdisciplinary perspectives Grandfathering Grandparental investment Grandchild development 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Coall
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sonja Hilbrand
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rebecca Sear
    • 4
  • Ralph Hertwig
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Medical SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.University of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute of Human DevelopmentBerlinGermany
  4. 4.London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  5. 5.Centre for Adaptive RationalityMax Planck Institute for Human DevelopmentBerlinGermany

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