Experiences from conception to age six have the most important influence of any time in the life

Motherhood Support

Mobilizing intergenerational support during the transition to motherhood

Summary of the Project

The purpose of this research is to examine intergenerational social support mobilization during the transition to parenthood and its influence on health among parents and grandparents. This research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, seeks to answer the following questions: during the transition to parenthood: (1) What are first-time parents’ and grandparents’ experiences of intergenerational social support? (2) How do first-time mothers and fathers mobilize intergenerational social support? (3) How do parents and grandparents make decisions about accessing and providing intergenerational social support? (4) What formal supports (e.g., health services, public health) influence intergenerational support mobilization? (5) What are new parents’ and grandparents’ perceptions of the impact of intergenerational social support on their health and health behaviours?

A critical ethnographic research approach will be employed. Data will be generated through individual interviews, group interviews, and review of policy and program documents relevant to support for new parents and grandparents in Alberta. Findings from each data generation strategy will be compared to identify common themes across participant experience to form an in-depth understanding of intergenerational social support, its mobilization, and implications for health during the transition to first-time parenthood.

Members of the Team

Principal Investigator:

  • Kaysi Kushner
    Faculty of Nursing
    University of Alberta


  • Nicole Letourneau
    Faculty of Nursing, CRISP
    University of New Brunswick
  • Miriam Stewart
    Social Support Research Program
    University of Alberta
  • Denise Spitzer
    Social Sciences and Humanities
    University of Ottawa
  • Deanna Williamson
    Department of Human Ecology
    University of Alberta
  • Gwen Rempel
    Faculty of Nursing
    University of Alberta
  • Cathy Kimak
    Regional Manager of Healthy Babies