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The role of gender and country of birth for the extent and consequences of informal caregiving in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0458-3544
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2019 (English)In: Changing priorities: The making of care policy and practices: Book of Abstracts, 2019, p. 74-75Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Formally provided eldercare services have declined in Sweden since the 1980s, followed by an increase in assistance from children, relatives and friends. This kind of informal care is most common among older people with lower levels of education and among older people born outside the Nordic countries. Although previous studies have concluded that daughters are the main providers of informal care regardless of country of birth, we still lack studies comparing the intensity and consequences of informal caregiving across different population groups in Sweden.

The aim of this paper is to analyse the role of gender and country of birth (born in Sweden or other Nordic countries vs in non-Nordic countries) for the extent and consequences of informal caregiving in Sweden. The analysis is based on a nationally representative postal survey (n=3630, aged 45-66 years) from 2013. 

Results: In the middle-aged population, 26% are caregivers, defined as providing help at least once a week to a family member, relative or friend with a disability or longstanding illness. 80 per cent of caregivers primarily assist an older adult (65 years+). While the proportion providing care does not differ significantly between the groups, non-Nordic immigrant women provide the most intensive care (13.2 hrs/week), compared to immigrant men (6.7 hrs/week), and both women and 75   men born in the Nordic countries (6.1 and 4.7 hrs/week respectively). Of the four groups, immigrant women most frequently provide the most demanding forms of care (personal and/or medical care as well as co-resident care), and are the group most negatively affected by caregiving, also when controlling for the amount of care provided. Country of origin however matters also for men. Compared to men born in the Nordic countries, non-Nordic immigrant men do more frequently provide the most demanding forms of care, and are more negatively affected by caregiving, also when controlling for the amount of care provided. Among female caregivers, immigrants are more affected in all four areas examined: well-being, work situation, labour force participation and economy. Among male caregivers, immigrants are more affected in all areas except labour force participation. 

Altogether, the study points to the conclusion that non-Nordic immigrants are more negatively affected by caregiving than persons born in the Nordic countries, and that this is valid for both sexes, although immigrant women are the group most affected. That immigrant caregivers, both women and men, provide more demanding forms of care, may reflect that the persons they assist do not have access to care services to the same extent as other groups, and/or that the services are not suitable for their needs. This raises questions about inequalities in access to care services and needs of culturally sensitive care services. Even when controlling for the amount of care provided, immigrants are more affected by caregiving, and this is valid for both sexes, which may be related to their general weaker positions on the Swedish labour market. Only among female caregivers, however, immigrants are more affected in their labour force participation, which points to caregiving as a threat to primarily immigrant women’s economic independence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. p. 74-75
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-178773OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-178773DiVA, id: diva2:1391622
Conference
The 4th Transforming Care conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 24-26 June, 2019
Funder
NordForsk, 1931467Available from: 2020-02-05 Created: 2020-02-05 Last updated: 2020-02-05Bibliographically approved

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