Following a competitive bid, the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) was commissioned by the Department of Health to carry out research on Caring relationships over time: predicting outcomes for carers. This was one of 13 linked studies which formed part of a research initiative on OUTCOMES OF SOCIAL CARE FOR ADULTS (OSCA). The project commenced in September 1997 with a proposed duration of 22 months. In the event additional funding was obtained for a further six months to explore issues identified in the main stage; the project formally closed in July 2000. The principal investigators were Sandra Hutton (50 per cent full-time), Michael Hirst (50 per cent) and Dot Lawton (20 per cent). Julie Williams assisted with the data analysis.
The aim of the study was to relate outcomes for carers to the timing and duration of care-giving episodes within individuals' life course and for different generations by: examining carers' circumstances before and after starting and finishing care; relating care-giving episodes to the carers' and their families' life course; identifying what allows carers to continue caring, what determines the end of caring and how far services are a factor; estimating the changing likelihood of becoming a carer for younger and older cohorts; charting longer-term trends in care-giving activity and the population of carers. The research focused on the health, employment, financial and family outcomes for carers in three nationally representative data sets, the British Household Panel Survey, the General Household Survey, and the Family and Working Lives Survey, comparing groups of carers and carers with non-carers.