In the last decades, both the lengthening of life expectancy and an accentuated decline in birth rates have reduced the consistency of the younger generational cohorts. Due to an ageing population, the burden of caregiving is expected to intensify in the next quarter of the century in Europe, especially for mature women. This paper investigates the impact of the provision of constant care for older parents on the mental health of adult daughters, between the ages of 50 and 75, living in different European countries. Data is drawn from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. Information on mental health status is provided by Euro-D depression scale, a measure of depression standardized across European countries. We focus on differences in the effects according to the North–South gradient: we test whether the relationship between informal caregiving and mental health differs across European macro-regions. Our results, robust under different specifications of the propensity score model, reveal a clear North–South gradient: the provision of informal care has a negative and significant impact on daughters’ mental health in the Mediterranean countries only, where the amount of resources allocated to the Long Term Care is minimal and the local system of health and social services for the elderly lacks the necessary structures to meet the increasing demand for eldercare.

Is caring for older parents detrimental to women's mental health? The role of the European North-South gradient

DI NOVI, Cinzia
2016

Abstract

In the last decades, both the lengthening of life expectancy and an accentuated decline in birth rates have reduced the consistency of the younger generational cohorts. Due to an ageing population, the burden of caregiving is expected to intensify in the next quarter of the century in Europe, especially for mature women. This paper investigates the impact of the provision of constant care for older parents on the mental health of adult daughters, between the ages of 50 and 75, living in different European countries. Data is drawn from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. Information on mental health status is provided by Euro-D depression scale, a measure of depression standardized across European countries. We focus on differences in the effects according to the North–South gradient: we test whether the relationship between informal caregiving and mental health differs across European macro-regions. Our results, robust under different specifications of the propensity score model, reveal a clear North–South gradient: the provision of informal care has a negative and significant impact on daughters’ mental health in the Mediterranean countries only, where the amount of resources allocated to the Long Term Care is minimal and the local system of health and social services for the elderly lacks the necessary structures to meet the increasing demand for eldercare.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3660638
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