Caring for an ill or disabled relative is a life experience shared by many women. Based on data from a representative sample of women in Israel, this study examined the demographic, employment, and health characteristics of women caregivers, focusing on the extent of care provided and its effect on the caregiver's physical and mental health. Using the conceptual framework of caregiving-related stress, we compared women who care for a parent, and women who care for another relative. The study found more instrumental difficulties, which lead to greater burden, among women who care for a disabled relative who is not a parent. Furthermore, larger proportions of women caring for a disabled relative who is not a parent report depressive mood symptoms, poor health status, and the need for psychological counseling. The findings suggest that formal service providers, chiefly social workers, may better support women caregivers once they are aware of the needs arising from disparate contexts of care.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was funded by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund, and conducted in cooperation with Cathy Schoen, Joan Leiman, and Elizabeth Simantov of The Commonwealth Fund, whom the authors wish to thank for their contribution.
- Informal caregiving
- Social workers
- Women's health