Published Papers - Abstract 62

Lee C & Porteous J. Experiences of family caregiving among middle-aged Australian women. Feminism and Psychology, 2002; 12(1): 79-96

Family caregiving is an unpaid activity which falls inequitably on women. As one component of the Women's Health Australia survey, this article uses quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the impact of family caregiving among middle-aged women. Of 13,888 women, 1775 responded to specific items about caregiving and 185 made open-ended comments about their experiences. Quantitative analyses showed that caregivers experienced more financial difficulties, poorer physical and psychological health, higher levels of stress and higher use of health care services. Content analysis of comments supported these findings, and in addition identified emerging themes including difficulties with travel, inadequacies in health and welfare systems, a sense of exploitation and fear for the future. These findings support the view that interventions to assist family caregivers must address systemic in addition to individual factors.