Published Papers - Abstract 71

Lee C. Experiences of family caregiving among older Australian women. Journal of Health Psychology, 2001; 6: 393-404

This article uses quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the effects on family caregiving on physical and emotional wellbeing, finances and leisure among a cohort of Australian women aged 70 to 75 years. A total of 11,939 women was examined. Of these, 10 percent (n = 1235) identified themselves as caregivers for frail, ill or disabled family members and 168 made open-ended comments about their caregiving experiences. Unlike other surveys with younger respondents, the data failed to demonstrate any differences in physical health between caregivers and others. Caregivers were, however, significantly more likely to have low levels of emotional well-being and to feel stressed, rushed and pressured. Qualitative analysis supported the value of the concept of the ‘ethic of care’ in understanding the social and individual forces that propel older women into providing family care despite its demonstrably negative effects on their wellbeing.