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  • Research dissemination workshop at AgeUK in London

    On 24 April, Professor Maria Evandrou, CPC Co-Director, chaired a research dissemination workshop at the charity AgeUK in London for the ESRC project on ‘Informal carers in mid-life’. The project was funded under the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative and led by Professor Athina Vlachantoni with Dr Ning Wang, Dr Zhixin Frank Feng and Professor Jane Falkingham. Journal articles are being prepared to be submitted.

    Project abstract
    The provision of informal care in mid-life is an issue of critical policy importance in the context of an ageing population. Much of the previous literature in this area has mapped the patterns of informal care provision across different age groups in the UK (Evandrou et al 2015; Pickard et al, 2000), and highlighted the importance of investigating the characteristics of informal care provision, such as its intensity and the relationship between the carer and the person they are caring for (Vlachantoni, 2010). At the same time, research using qualitative methods has focused on understanding the motivations of caregivers, and their own perspective on the impact that the caring activity has on their lives (Greenwood et al, 2016). However, to-date there has been little research combining data from qualitative and quantitative data in order to obtain a deeper understanding of caring in mid-life, and the links between carers' narratives about their life history, identity and perceptions about social participation with a range of demographic, health and socio-economic characteristics, as well as the particular features of the caring activity itself among carers.

    The proposed project aims to exploit the National Child Development Study, a cohort study of individuals born in 1958, who were interviewed at age 50. The study will combine qualitative and quantitative methods in order to investigate how carers in mid-life understand social participation, how such perceptions differ among carers of different intensity (number of hours per week) and among non-carers; the association between the carers' perceptions of social participation and their key demographic and socio-economic characteristics; the provision of informal care towards parents or parents-in-law at age 50 related to particular influences or turning points during the carers' life course (eg. unemployment) and the provision of informal care associated with carers' identity in other ways (eg. gender and social class).

    The project's output and analysis aims to contribute to the evidence base in the area of informal care provision in mid-life, and to the future design of social policies aimed at supporting informal carers. This is particularly important as caring in mid-life is becoming a more common experience for individuals, and social policies are needed and relied upon for supporting informal carers in their roles. In addition, understanding the impact of the caregiving role on the carer's circumstances, behaviour and resources, is also of paramount importance, as caregiving in mid-life for one's parents is often combined with other roles or demands during this part of the life course, such as paid work and being a parent or grandparent. The project's findings will be shared throughout the life of the research with Carers UK, and feed into debates of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Carers in the form of an accessible Policy Briefing publication. The findings will also be disseminated at a knowledge exchange workshop in collaboration with AgeUK, as well as through presentations at national and international scientific meetings, and through discussion papers and peer-reviewed journal articles.

    Posted 06/06/2019 10:40