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The Strains and Gains of Caregiving: An Examination of the Effects of Providing Personal Care to a Parent on a Range of Indicators of Psychological Well-Being

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  • Thomas Hansen

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  • Britt Slagsvold

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  • Reidun Ingebretsen

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Abstract

This study explores the effect of providing regular help with personal care to a resident or non-resident parent or parent-in-law on different aspects of psychological well-being. We use cross-sectional data from the Norwegian Life Course, Ageing and Generation (LOGG) study (N ~ 15,000, age 18–79) and two-wave panel data from the Norwegian study on Life course, Ageing and Generation (NorLAG) (N ~ 3,000, age 40–79). We separate outcomes into cognitive well-being (life satisfaction, partnership satisfaction, self-esteem), affective well-being (happiness, positive and negative affect, depression, loneliness) and sense of mastery. Caregiver status is largely unrelated to these aspects of well-being, both in cross-section and longitudinally. One notable exception is that caring for a resident (but not a non-resident) parent relates to lower affective well-being among women, also longitudinally. This effect is more marked among unpartnered and lower educated women. In addition, caring for a non-resident parent is associated with a positive change in sense of mastery among women. The results reviewed and presented indicate that caregiving has less detrimental effects in the Nordic countries than in other countries, highlighting the role of social policies and care systems in shaping the impact of caregiving on well-being. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Hansen & Britt Slagsvold & Reidun Ingebretsen, 2013. "The Strains and Gains of Caregiving: An Examination of the Effects of Providing Personal Care to a Parent on a Range of Indicators of Psychological Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 323-343, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:114:y:2013:i:2:p:323-343
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-012-0148-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dan Haybron, 2007. "Life satisfaction, ethical reflection, and the science of happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 99-138, March.
    2. Kari Tucker & Daniel Ozer & Sonja Lyubomirsky & Julia Boehm, 2006. "Testing for Measurement Invariance in the Satisfaction with Life Scale: A Comparison of Russians and North Americans," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 78(2), pages 341-360, September.
    3. Alex Michalos, 1980. "Satisfaction and happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 385-422, December.
    4. Andres Vikat & Zsolt Spéder & Gijs Beets & Francesco Billari & Christoph Bühler & Aline Désesquelles & Tineke Fokkema & Jan M. Hoem & Alphonse MacDonald & Gerda Neyer & Ariane Pailhé & Antonella Pinne, 2007. "Generations and Gender Survey (GGS)," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(14), pages 389-440, November.
    5. Carmichael, Fiona & Charles, Susan, 2003. "The opportunity costs of informal care: does gender matter?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 781-803, September.
    6. Alex Michalos, 1985. "Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT)," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 347-413, May.
    7. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    8. Andreas Kotsadam, 2011. "Does Informal Eldercare Impede Women's Employment? The Case of European Welfare States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 121-144.
    9. Thomas Hansen & Britt Slagsvold & Torbjørn Moum, 2009. "Childlessness and Psychological Well-Being in Midlife and Old Age: An Examination of Parental Status Effects Across a Range of Outcomes," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 343-362, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Thiel, 2016. "Caring Alone? Social Capital and the Mental Health of Caregivers," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 860, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Yoko Niimi, 2016. "The “Costs” of informal care: an analysis of the impact of elderly care on caregivers’ subjective well-being in Japan," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 779-810, December.

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