Inequalities in informal caregiving over the adult life course in Europe: social participation, health and the influence of Covid-19

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Epidemiology and Public Health

Abstract

This consortium will investigate inequalities in caregiving from a life course perspective. Increased longevity gains have not been
accompanied by an increasing number of years spent disability free, leading to an increased need for care for older people. European
countries vary dramatically in how they have met this rising care demand, but across most of Europe the majority of care is provided
informally by families, friends, or neighbours. Smaller family sizes, partnership dissolution and women's strengthening ties to paid work may
lead to a diminishing pool of informal carers in the face of increasing need. In addition, delayed childbearing means there are likely to be a
growing number of young adults with older parents requiring care, more carers providing care to parents and children simultaneously
(sandwich care), as well as a growing number of adult grandchildren caring for surviving grandparents. In addition, caregiving is not equally
distributed. Women are more likely to provide care, to have provided care for longer and to care more intensively than men, and gender
inequality in who provides care is greater in countries that rely on a family-based model. In addition, caring itself acts as a form of
inequality, limiting access to financial and social resources. Existing evidence suggests that caring leads to labour market exits; reduced
working hours, salaries and pension entitlements; loss of training opportunities and career advancement; and is associated with poorer
psychological and physical health. However, existing research has largely been based on cross-sectional samples of older-adults or has
focussed on care for specific groups, such as dementia sufferers. In addition, most research on caregiving has focused on older spouses, or
older working age carers, while younger carers are often overlooked in policy and research. Younger caregiving occurs at a time when
young adults are seeking to complete education, establish themselves in the job market and form long-term relationships. Young adult
carers are also likely to have fewer financial and socio-emotional resources than older carers. We will harness Europe's longitudinal,
population data investments, as well as a wealth of both methodological and substantive experience in a multidisciplinary team of leading
European academics and non-academic partners to examine inequities in employment, social participation and health between carers and
non-carers at different life stages, as well as the gender, socioeconomic and ethnic differences in the social, economic and health
consequences of caregiving. Comparisons in these life course care inequalities will be made across European country contexts, with a
specific focus on young adult carers as well as those providing care in mid- and later-life. Where data allow, the initial impact of changes in
informal care related to the COVID-19 pandemic will also be included. Finally, we include a specific research objective and work package
focused on working closely with our non-academic partners to translate our results into policy recommendations.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Carers Trust 
Organisation The Carers Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We meet with our contact at Carers Trust regularly and share results with her.
Collaborator Contribution She feedsback on our work and contributed to our recent 'Roundtable' event.
Impact Carers Trust are consulting to inform our academic outputs and were active in a recent non-academic international 'Roundtable' event to share and discuss our work and ideas with non-academic stakeholders across Europe
Start Year 2021
 
Description This is a European consortium grant so we are working with partners at the University of Dortmund, Duesseldorf, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Norwegian Public Health Institute 
Organisation Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead this consortium and are responsible for UK and international comparative outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Each is contributing to international comparative outputs as well as leading national outputs within their own country teams. We all meet together monthly online and many subgroups meet separately in addition.
Impact Conference abstract accepted to RC28 Social Stratification conference at LSE April 2022. We have submitted abstracts to Society for Life course and Longitudinal Studies conference and Society for Social Medicine conference. We are currently working on three UK-specific academic papers, one UK-Germany comparative paper and a comparative paper across European partners.
Start Year 2021
 
Description This is a European consortium grant so we are working with partners at the University of Dortmund, Duesseldorf, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Norwegian Public Health Institute 
Organisation Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead this consortium and are responsible for UK and international comparative outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Each is contributing to international comparative outputs as well as leading national outputs within their own country teams. We all meet together monthly online and many subgroups meet separately in addition.
Impact Conference abstract accepted to RC28 Social Stratification conference at LSE April 2022. We have submitted abstracts to Society for Life course and Longitudinal Studies conference and Society for Social Medicine conference. We are currently working on three UK-specific academic papers, one UK-Germany comparative paper and a comparative paper across European partners.
Start Year 2021
 
Description This is a European consortium grant so we are working with partners at the University of Dortmund, Duesseldorf, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Norwegian Public Health Institute 
Organisation Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Country Norway 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We lead this consortium and are responsible for UK and international comparative outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Each is contributing to international comparative outputs as well as leading national outputs within their own country teams. We all meet together monthly online and many subgroups meet separately in addition.
Impact Conference abstract accepted to RC28 Social Stratification conference at LSE April 2022. We have submitted abstracts to Society for Life course and Longitudinal Studies conference and Society for Social Medicine conference. We are currently working on three UK-specific academic papers, one UK-Germany comparative paper and a comparative paper across European partners.
Start Year 2021
 
Description This is a European consortium grant so we are working with partners at the University of Dortmund, Duesseldorf, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Norwegian Public Health Institute 
Organisation Technical University of Dortmund
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead this consortium and are responsible for UK and international comparative outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Each is contributing to international comparative outputs as well as leading national outputs within their own country teams. We all meet together monthly online and many subgroups meet separately in addition.
Impact Conference abstract accepted to RC28 Social Stratification conference at LSE April 2022. We have submitted abstracts to Society for Life course and Longitudinal Studies conference and Society for Social Medicine conference. We are currently working on three UK-specific academic papers, one UK-Germany comparative paper and a comparative paper across European partners.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Roundtable Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact We held an online 'Roundtable' event attended by about 30 stakeholders working in the area of care: third sector organisations, local government, research funders from across Europe. We shared our research plans and initial findings. They shared the work of their organisations. We discussed how to improve the research in breakout groups and recorded thoughts on padlets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description presentation to academic international conference on social stratification 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation at academic conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022