Women’s caregiving: Changing profiles and pathways

Julie Robison, Phyllis E Moen, Donna Dempster-McClain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This study draws on panel data from a random sample of 293 wives and mothers, interviewed in 1956 and 1986, to:(1) examine changes in women’s caregiving experiences across four different birth cohorts, and (2) assess the likelihood of women becoming caregivers. Women born in the late 1920s and early 1930s reported more episodes of caring for members of an older generation, for disabled children, and for more than one person at a time than women born prior to 1926. The percentage of women with two or more episodes ofcaregiving increases significantly from the earliest (born 1905–1917) to the most recent cohort (born 1927–1934). Using event history analysis, we tested the effects of social structural variables and subjective dispositions, as well as the number, duration, and timing of competing roles, on the likelihood of women becoming caregivers. We find that women with more traditional life styles are more likely to become caregivers; however, potentially competing roles, such as employment, do not seem to decrease, and actually are positively related to, the likelihood of caregiving. To consider various pathways to caregiving, we also conduct subgroup analyses by cohort and educational level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S362-S373
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume50 B
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1995
Externally publishedYes


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