Gender Inequalities in Health in Later Life: Does Informal Caregiving Matter?

Damiano Uccheddu , Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW)
Anne H. Gauthier, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Nardi Steverink, University of Groningen
Tom Emery, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

This study investigates the influence of spousal care transitions on the health of older men and women living in 17 European countries. We use five waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) between the years 2004-2015 for a total of 96,356 observations. Health is defined as a Frailty Index calculated from 40 items. Caregiving is defined as help with personal care provided to partners and spouses. Results from asymmetric fixed-effects linear regression models show that the transitions into caregiving have a detrimental effect on health, with gender and geographical variation. On the contrary, the transitions out of caregiving have no beneficial effect on health. This suggests that the impact of caregiving is somewhat permanent and has lasting effects for the caregiver. This highlights the asymmetric nature of care transitions and the need to account for care trajectories when assessing the impact and consequences of caregiving.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions