Family Caregiving Roles

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Caregiving competes with leisure time, which is usually spent with family members and helps maintain healthy family relationships. The time for leisure, however, is drastically shortened when caregiving lasts for hours or must be combined with a regular workday. Caring for co-residing elderly, in particular, not only influences a family’s daily life but decreases the well-being of both caregivers and their family members (Amirkhanyan & Wolf, 2006). Yet the effect of caregiving on the entire family has received only marginal attention in the research.

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The few studies that do exist focus especially on informal caregiving’s effect on married couples.

For example, Bookwala (2009) found that among a sample of adult caregiving daughters and sons, experienced caregivers are significantly less happy in their marriages than those who have just assumed the caregiving role. Likewise, former caregivers experience greater differences than recent caregivers, long-term caregivers experience more than non-caregivers, and, in terms of gender inequality, and these effects are stronger for females in both groups. These findings are consistent with the already cited research showing that it takes time for the impacts of caregiving to manifest in any measurable magnitude and that downturns in overall life satisfaction come to include downturns in satisfaction with family life.

On the other hand, Litvin et al. (1995) argue that if care provision is exogenous, then the double burden perceived by married caregivers can be counter balanced by spousal support in the caregiving process. In fact, Brody et al. (1995) do find that well-being among married caregivers is highest, while never-married caregivers are less likely to co-reside with parents than their married counterparts. Moreover, although married daughters do not differ significantly from separated and divorced female caregivers in terms of co-residency, there are directional differences: whereas most of the latter have moved back into their parents’ home, the majority of married caregivers co-reside in their own dwelling. This pattern appears to be driven by the opportunity to provide better care, on the one hand, and by financial problems, on the other, particularly in the case of divorced daughters.

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Family Caregiving Roles. (2019, Dec 20). Retrieved from