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Effect of caring for an older person on women's lifetime participation in work

This paper examines the relationship between informal care and ending paid work for working women of three age groups (up to 30, 31–49 and 50 or more years) in 1995 in Belgium. It explores the effect of being a carer for older adults on the probability of ceasing to work. Most particularly, it focuses on the effect of the care intensity in the different age groups. The analyses use data from the European Community Household Panel (ECHP). A sample of 24,592 working women living in 11 European countries was followed from 1995 to 2001. Multivariate analyses for the entire sample show that the simple fact of caring or not did not influence the probability of ceasing work, but that providing light care had a negative effect, suggesting the presence of a respite effect. As for the effects specific to each age group, caring did not have any effect for women aged 31 to 49 years, but for the other two age groups, women who provided light care were less likely to cease work than those not caring for an older person. In contrast, providing heavy care increased the probability of ceasing work, but only for those aged 50 or more years. The findings suggest that studies of and policies related to informal care and its consequences should give more attention to age group differences.

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Ageing and Society

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Social care online
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