Boundary issues in the experience of grandparenting a preterm grandchild

Ayelet Zafrir Priel, Chaya Possick, Ahuva Even-Zohar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the experience of grandparenting a preterm grandchild up to first year after the birth, in the Israeli context. Background: The birth of a preterm infant has an impact on the entire family, including grandparents. Although preterm birth is very common, thus far, there are only a few published studies about grandparents of premature infants. Method: The study was designed and conducted according to the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis method. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 grandparents ages 54–72 years. Results: Results indicated that the issue of boundaries was the core category and yielded three subthemes: (1) internal boundaries—our experience or internalized prematurity, (2) interpersonal boundaries—my grandchild and me, and (3) external boundaries between the medical facility and the grandparents—the omnipotent NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Conclusions: The current research demonstrates the importance of focusing on grandparents of premature infants as individuals in need of support, as well as an important resource for the immediate family of the baby. Implications: This should be taken into consideration in visiting policies and delivery of psychosocial services in NICUs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily Relations
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Family Relations published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of National Council on Family Relations.


  • family and premature birth
  • family boundaries
  • grandparents
  • neonatal intensive care unit
  • preterm grandchild


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