Multidimensional stratification of informal caregiving toward older parents

Di, 09.04.2024 l 13:00-14:15 Uhr l Seminarraum 2, Institut für Soziologie

Dr. Francesca Zanasi
Department of Social and political Science, University of Bologna


All  over Europe, care responsibilities for older individuals fall on the  shoulders of family members, particularly partners, and children,  usually wives and daughters(in-laws) – with negative consequences on  psychological and physical health. Despite the extensive study of the  caregiver burden, the socio-economic characteristics of informal  caregivers remain overlooked by research. In the present study, we aim  to uncover socio-economic differences (regarding education, income, and  wealth) in the probability of providing informal caregiving to older  parents (and parents-in-law) in Europe, using the Survey of Health,  Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE, 2004-2020). Given the gender  roles traditionally associated with care duties, we focus on older  women, who bear the lion’s share of informal care. Logistic regression  models show a positive gradient between women’s socio-economic status  and providing support to parents(in-laws). Education appears to be the  dimension along which differences in care provision emerge the most: the  highest the educational level, the highest the probability of providing  care. Such provision is at low-intensity levels, namely, on  less-than-weekly-basis and in activities other than personal care. It  may be offered as a complement to formal services that  high-socioeconomic-status individuals can afford to purchase on the  market. A lower commitment to older parents(in-laws) can be experienced  as less burdensome and be offered at the daughters' (in-laws)  discretion. However, it emerges clearly that low-income groups  compensate for lack of resources with co-residence with older parents,  allegedly as a strategy to care for them.

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