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Family care in the Swedish welfare state: extent, content and consequences
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2017 (English)In: Paper to the Transforming care conference 2017, 2017Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to analyse the extent, content and consequences of family caregiving among middle-aged women and men in Sweden today. The analysis focuses on gender and level of education, using data on persons aged 45-66 years from a nationally representative postal survey (n=3630) conducted in 2013. Of the respondents, 28% are caregivers, defined as providing help at least once a week to a family member, relative or friend with a disability or longstanding illness. Almost 80% of the caregivers assist an older person (65+), most often a frail parent. This paper confirms previous research in that middle-aged women are more frequently caregivers, give more intensive care and are more negatively affected by caregiving than middle-aged men. The gender difference in both the frequency and intensity of caregiving is however only found among highly educated persons, and the gender differences in the consequences of caregiving are more extensive in this group, especially regarding their work situation.The analysis focuses on educational differences among women and men, respectively. No educational differences were found among women or men in how common it is in the middle-aged population to be a caregiver. Female caregivers with higher education however give more intensive care, on average 7.9 hours a week compared to 4.9 hours a week among other female caregivers. Female caregivers with higher education are more negatively affected than other female caregivers on a number of outcomes concerning well-being, work situation and attachment to the labour market. These outcomes include difficulties to find time to see friends, mental strain, reduced ability to focus on the job, difficulties in keeping working hours, difficulties in managing to accomplish tasks and having to reduce working hours because of caregiving. No significant educational differences between female caregivers were however found inexperiencing physical strain, being on sick leave for more than two weeks, having to quit the job or have retired earlier than planned due to caregiving. No educational differences were found among male caregivers in the intensity of care provided (around 5 hours a week on average). The only negative outcome that differs among male caregivers with different levels of level of education concerns mental strain; those with higher education more frequently experience mental strain due to caregiving. These results fill a knowledge gap in Swedish research on the extent and consequences of caregiving in middle age. Previous analyses of nationally representative surveys on socioeconomic differences among women and men in the extent and consequences of caregiving in Sweden are almost non-existing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
family care, elder care, gender, socioeconomic status, social policy, gainful employment
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147724OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147724DiVA: diva2:1148246
Conference
Innovation and Sustainability, 3rd Transforming Care Conference, Milan, Italy, June 26-28, 2017
Projects
Social Inequalities in Aging, NordForsk
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers
Available from: 2017-10-10 Created: 2017-10-10 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved

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