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  • Project contributors: Evandrou M, Falkingham J, Vlachantoni A, Qin M, Bowes A, Dawson A,

    This Project is part of the following research programme/s:

    Connecting Generations

    Longer lives


    This project combines qualitative and quantitative research methods to shed light on the issues surrounding caring responsibilities in mid-life. The family remains the main provider of social care in later life, with the likelihood of being a non co-residential family caregiver peaking in mid-life between ages 45-64. However, whether future generations of older people will be able to, or will wish to, rely on unpaid family care remains unclear. Furthermore, events such as the Covid-19 pandemic may change individuals' capacity to take up multiple roles.

    We use quantitative longitudinal analysis of the 1970 and 1958 Birth Cohorts and Understanding Society data to investigate the complex relationships between paid and unpaid work across mid-life, how this varies according to ethnicity, occupation and region and how multiple roles are associated with a range of outcomes including physical and mental health. Complementing this quantitative analysis, we use qualitative data collected through the Mass Observation Project (MOP) to understand how recent demographic changes such as divorce and re-partnering, along with broader changes in society, have affected intergenerational relationships, contacts and feelings of obligations to kin.

    The findings provide important insights into whether we will be able to continue to rely on informal carers as the main source of support for social care and informing policy discussions around work-life balance and extended working lives - both key areas of research interest for DWP.

    This research project is led by Professor Maria Evandrou.