Background: 'Choice' is increasingly pursued as a goal of social policy. However, the degree to which choice is exercised when entering an informal caring role is open to debate.; Aim: In this study, we examined the degree of choice and constraint in entering a caring role, and the relationship between choice and carers' well-being.; Methods: Data were derived from 1100 responses to a postal survey conducted in a British city. Statistical tests of association and multivariable regression modelling were applied to study the factors associated with choice in entering a caring role and the association that choice in entering a caring role had with carers' well-being.; Results: We found that informal care was generally perceived to be a free choice, albeit in most cases, a choice was also constrained by duty, financial or social resources. Having a sense of free choice in entering care was strongly and positively associated with the carer's well-being.; Conclusion: The study findings are consistent with a view that enabling individuals to have more choice in their caring roles may be beneficial.