Informal eldercare and work-related strain

Birgit Trukeschitz, Ulrike Schneider, Richard Mühlmann, Ivo Ponocny

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


Objectives. In light of an aging workforce, reconciling informal eldercare and paid work becomes increasingly pertinent.This article investigates the association between informal eldercare and work-related strain and tests for both the 'competing demands' and 'expansion' hypotheses.

Methods. The sample of 938 Austrian employees consisted of employees caring for older relatives and a control group of employees without eldercare obligations. We ran a Tobit regression model on work-related strain with different measures of informal eldercare as explanatory variables and controls for both personal and workplace characteristics.

Results. Accounting for different characteristics of eldercare within one estimation model revealed that informal eldercare was associated with work-related strain in 2 ways, that is, it increased with both care hours and subjective care burden. However, after controlling for these burdensome attributes of eldercare, the carer status as such was found to be negatively associated with work-related strain. In addition and independently of care commitments, work-related factors, such as advanced skills and job motivation, reduced work-related strain.

Discussion. This article lends support to both the 'competing demands' and the 'expansion' hypotheses. Commitment to eldercare can enhance work-related outcomes but entails work-related problems if care burden and time demands of eldercare are substantial. Thus, workers with eldercare responsibilities cannot be considered less productive from the outset. An individual assessment of their situation, considering the care and work setting, is required. Findings from this study support the design of workplace initiatives to uphold workers' productivity in general and bring specific attention to policies alleviating workers' eldercare burden.
Seiten (von - bis)257 - 267
FachzeitschriftJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 März 2013