bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
All Web sites
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2014: S A J J M A M F J
2013: D N O S

 
  Other news for:
Aging
Parenting
 Resources from HONselect
When Parents Need Care, Daughters Carry the Burden: Study
Brothers often pass on responsibilities to sisters, research contends

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- It's no secret that daughters seem to bear the brunt of caregiving duties for elderly parents, but a new study suggests that conscientious daughters often fill the gaps left by sons.

"Sons provide a lower relative share of total parent care if they have a sister, whereas daughters provide a larger relative share if they have a brother," said study author Angelina Grigoryeva, a graduate student with the department of sociology at Princeton University. "This finding suggests sons may pass on parent-care responsibilities to their sisters."

Although the study was not designed to discern why this may be so, Grigoryeva suggested that women are often raised to be caregivers and that when the elderly parent is a woman she might not feel as comfortable with her son taking care of her.

The study also suggests that the gender divide remains strong even as men do more housework and spend more time on child care. "Gender inequality in elder care is more pronounced than in housework or child care," Grigoryeva said.

As of 2006, almost 11 million older adults in the United States needed help with at least some tasks that are part of independent living, such as dressing and bathing, according to the study.

"It is a well-established fact that most elder care in the U.S. is provided at home by unpaid family members, usually adult daughters," Grigoryeva said, but it's not completely clear why brothers don't contribute more.

In the study, Grigoryeva examines statistics from a 2004 national survey of people over the age of 50. She looked at the results from about 3,000 parents with 1,477 sons and 1,537 daughters (one child each) and 2,461 sibling groups with at least one son and 2,488 sibling groups with at least one daughter.

Among other things, Grigoryeva found that sons are most likely to step in to help elderly parents when there's no sister or spouse to help out. The findings also suggest that daughters provide more care to mothers, while sons provide more care to fathers.

The study doesn't delve into why these differences exist, but Grigoryeva said they may have a lot to do with the caregiving role of women in society and the fact that most elderly parents who need care are women. "It is possible that elderly women in need of care resist the caregiving efforts of sons," she said.

Marina Bastawrous, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto's Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, said her own research into caregiving has shown that daughters often "took on the caregiving role because they were the only female sibling and, in turn, their brother or brothers wouldn't do it. On the other hand, daughters who had female siblings often talked about a more even distribution of responsibilities."

What should daughters do if they feel overwhelmed by caring for their parents? Grigoryeva suggested that daughters focus on tasks that brothers might be more likely to want to handle, such as home repairs and helping with bills.

Bastawrous agreed that it can be smart to distribute tasks according to each sibling's strengths. Caregivers should also "seek opportunities for support outside the family. Caregiving peers can help relieve emotional stress just by talking to a caregiver about their own experience."

The study is to be presented at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in San Francisco. The findings should be considered preliminary because they haven't gone through the review process required of research published in medical journals.

More information

For more about caregiving, try the AARP.

SOURCES: Angelina Grigoryeva, graduate student, department of sociology, Office of Population Research, Princeton University, New Jersey; Marina Bastawrous, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, University of Toronto; Aug. 19, 2014, presentation, American Sociological Association annual meeting, San Francisco

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=690860

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Nuclear Family
Parents
Aged
Women
Caregivers
Family
Adult
Sociology
Association
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact