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Gender and sex differences in carers' health, burden and work outcomes: Canadian carers of community-dwelling older people with multiple chronic conditions

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Using two waves of survey data on family carers caring for older adults with multiple chronic conditions in Ontario and Alberta, this article provides a sex and gender analysis of 194 carers' health outcomes. Gender and sex differences were examined on the following health outcomes: general self-efficacy; physical and mental health composite scores; overall quality of life; and the Zarit Burden Inventory – as well as experiences with work interference for carer-employees. Multivariate ordinary least squares linear regressions were used to estimate the effects of sex and gender, controlling for the carer's socio-demographic and geographic characteristics, as well as for the characteristics of the care recipients. Sex and gender were found to have differentiated effects on each health outcome examined, providing evidence for specifically targeting health interventions by sex and gender. First, sex matters, as illustrated by the fact that female carers were found to be experiencing more negative health impacts than male carers (shown in the physical composite score and the quality of life score). This suggests that health-related interventions need to be targeted at female carers. Further, male carers are more likely to experience less carer burden, and more work interference, than female carers. Second, gender matters, as illustrated by the fact that masculine and androgynous genders showed significantly positive associations with general self-efficacy. This suggests that carers with feminine and undifferentiated gender roles experience more challenges with general-self-efficacy and could benefit from training and educational interventions to enhance their confidence in the caring role.
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Keywords: CARER BURDEN; GENDER; SEX; WORK INTERFERENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Email: [email protected] 2: Email: [email protected] 3: Email: [email protected] 4: Email: [email protected] 5: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: October 2017

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Care and Caring (IJCC) is a new multidisciplinary journal designed to advance scholarship and debate in the important and expanding field of care and caring. Multidisciplinary and international in scope, it publishes high quality contributions on care, caring and carers from all regions of the world. IJCC has a broad focus, covering care and caring for people of any age who have long-term conditions, disabilities or frailties, or who are seriously ill or near the end of life. It explores the economic, organisational, political, social, legal, familial, transnational and ethical settings in which this care occurs.

    IJCC is concerned with care provided as paid work and as support for family members, friends or neighbours; with care in home, community and residential settings; and with formal and informal care relations, organisation, systems and markets. It focuses on 'receiving' and 'giving' care and on the gendered nature and social, political, legal and economic status and circumstances of care and caring. It debates the support needed in localities, workplaces and health systems to make care and caring feasible and rewarding for carers and dignified and supportive of independence for care recipients. IJCC welcomes contributions on caring relationships, the ethics and political economy of care, care as a focus of moral philosophy and feminist analysis and care and caring as sources of claims-making and challenge and as the spur for national and global social movements.

    The journal encourages critical engagement with policy and practice developments and aims to include contributions from different areas of the world in each edition. Its regular Debates and Issues section features dialogue with carers’ organisations, policymakers, trade unions, employers and academics, to encourage global dialogue and international sharing of ideas, expertise and experience.

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