Reversed socioeconomic pattern in the costs of caring regarding well‐being and paid work among women in Sweden
- Ulmanen, Petra
- Reversed socioeconomic pattern in the costs of caring regarding well‐being and paid work among women in Sweden
- Social Policy and Administration
This study analyses the role of gender and educational attainment in the extent and perceived consequences of family caregiving in middle age in Sweden, using data on persons aged 45–66 years from a nationally representative postal survey (n = 3630) conducted in 2013. The results confirm previous research regarding the role of gender and contradict it regarding the role of class. Among female caregivers, higher education is associated with lower well‐being, work performance and labour force participation relative to lower educated caregivers. When controlling for care intensity and other characteristics, these associations mostly remained. No significant associations were found among men. The results are discussed in the light of deteriorating working conditions in welfare service occupations in which many higher educated women work, and how service decline and increased fragmentation of eldercare increase the need for managerial caregiving (i.e., coordinating and handling contacts with authorities and care providers). For Swedish women, managerial caregiving increases risks of negative impacts on well‐being and work performance to the same extent as providing personal care. More research is needed to understand these surprising results. Tentative conclusions are that higher educated women experience more strain from combining paid work with family care, as their caregiving is more demanding and they more frequently work full‐time in high strain jobs. As they also have higher incomes, they both need and can afford to decrease their work hours to a greater extent.