Informal care provision among male and female working carers: Findings from a Swedish national survey

Vicente Joana, McKee Kevin J., Magnusson Lennart, Johansson Pauline
Informal care provision among male and female working carers: Findings from a Swedish national survey
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263396


Informal carers in paid employment–working carers (WKCs)—have complex support needs. However, little is known about WKCs’ pattern of informal care provision, the support they receive, the impact providing care has on their employment, and how these vary between male and female WKCs. This study describes the pattern of informal care provision and received support among Swedish WKCs.

Research method/Design

The study was a cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey of a stratified random sample of the Swedish population aged 18 or over. The questionnaire addressed the type and extent of informal care provided, support received and the impact of care provision on employment. Of the 30,009 people who received the questionnaire, 11,168 (37.3%) responded, providing an analytic sample of 818 (7.32% of respondents) employed or self-employed informal carers.


A typical Swedish WKC was a middle-aged female, providing weekly or daily care to a non-cohabitant parent, who experiences care as sometimes demanding and receives no formal support as a carer. Female WKCs were more likely than males to care alone and with higher intensity, to report a need for help in meeting their care-recipient’s needs, and to experience care as demanding. Approximately 17% of WKCs reported their employment had been affected due to caring, 40% their ability to work, and 31% their career development opportunities. Female WKCs’ ability to work was affected more than males’, and they were more commonly prevented from applying for work.


Swedish female WKCs compared to males provide more hours of informal care, across more care domains, more often alone. This places them in a challenging situation when combining paid work and care. Greater recognition of the challenges faced by WKCs is required in Sweden and other countries, as are policies to reduce gender inequalities in informal care provision in this group.

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