Advertisement

International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 301–308 | Cite as

The impact of being the intermediate caring generation and intergenerational transfers on self-reported health of women in Ireland

  • Christine A. McGarrigleEmail author
  • Hilary Cronin
  • Rose Anne Kenny
Original Article

Abstract

Objectives

To investigate the associations with being the “sandwich generation” in older women in Ireland and its impact on self-reported health.

Methods

Analysis of 3,196 women from wave 1 of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) was undertaken. Poisson regression was used to determine whether intergenerational transfers, were associated with self-rated physical health and depression, when controlling for other socio-demographic variables.

Results

Multivariate analysis found that women in the sandwich generation who financially supported their children had better self-rated physical health (poor/fair health relative to excellent; RR 0.84, 95 % CI 0.72–0.97). Conversely, the women who provided other care for their children showed evidence of poorer mental health (case-level depression, RR 1.35, 95 %CI 1.05–1.73). Providing financial support for parents was associated with case-level depression (RR 2.21, 95 %CI 1.26–3.86).

Conclusions

Supporting two generations was associated with both better self-rated health and poorer mental health, depending on the type and direction of the transfers. This generation of women have substantial caring responsibilities. Strategies to address the stresses associated with bi-directional intergenerational transfers are needed.

Keywords

Ageing TILDA Intergenerational relations Health status Depression 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank all the participants in the study, the TILDA research, the team of interviewers and the study nurses and administrators. Funding is by The Atlantic Philanthropies (research grant to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing), Irish Life plc and the Irish Government (grant to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing).

References

  1. Amirkhanyan AA, Wolf DA (2006) Parent care and the stress process: findings from panel data. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc. Sci. 61:S248–S255PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Attias-Donfut C, Ogg J, Wolff F (2005) European patterns of intergenerational financial and time transfers. Eur J Ageing 2:161–173Google Scholar
  3. Beekman AT, Deeq DJ, Van Limbeek J, Braam AW, De Vries MZ, Van Tilburq W (1997) Criterion validity of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D): results from a community-based sample of older subjects in The Netherlands. Psychol Med 27:231–235PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bloom D, Canning D (2003) Contraception and the Celtic tiger. Econ Soc Rev 34:229–247Google Scholar
  5. Bonsang E (2007) How do middle-aged children allocate time and money transfers to their older parents in Europe? Empirica 34:171–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Breeze E, Stafford M, (2010) Receipt and giving of help and care. In: Banks J, Lessof C, Nazroo J, Rogers N, Stafford M, Steptoe A (eds) Financial circumstances, health and well-being of the older population in England. The 2008 English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, London, pp 348–85Google Scholar
  7. Broe GA, Jorm AF, Creasey H et al (1999) Carer distress in the general population: results from the Sydney Older Persons Study. Age Ageing 1999(28):307–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Central Statistics Office (2012a) Profile 2 older and younger. Census Stationary Office, 2011 Dublin, IrelandGoogle Scholar
  9. Central Statistics Office (2012b) Women and men in Ireland 2011 Dublin. The Stationary Office, IrelandGoogle Scholar
  10. Coe NB, Van Houtven CH (2009) Caring for mom and neglecting yourself? The health effects of caring for an elderly parent. Health Econ 18:991–1010PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Evandrou M, Glazer K (2003) Combining work and family life: the pension penalty of caring. Ageing Soc 23:583–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferrie JE, Shipley MJ, Davey SG, Stansfeld SA, Marmot MG (2002) Change in health inequalities among British civil servants: the Whitehall II study. J Epidemiol Community Health 56:922–926PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Geodirectory (2008) Dublin. An Post Geodirectory LimitedGoogle Scholar
  14. Glazer K, Evandrou M, Tommassini C (2005) The health consequences of multiple roles at older ages in the UK. Health Soc Care Community 13(5):470–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grundy E, Henretta JC (2006) Between elderly parents and adult children: a new look at the intergenerational care provided by the ‘sandwich generation’. Ageing Soc 26:707–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Health Research Board and Information Division (2012) Perinatal statistics report. ESRIGoogle Scholar
  17. Kearney PM, Cronin H, O’Regan C, Kamiya Y, Savva GM, Whelan B et al (2011) Cohort profile: the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Int J Epidemiol 40:877–884PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lee S, Colditz GA, Berkman LF, Kawachi I (2003) Caregiving and risk of coronary heart disease in US women: a prospective study. Am J Prev Med 24:113–119PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Legg L, Weir CJ, Langhorne P, Smith LN, Stott DJ (2013) Is informal caregiving independently associated with poor health? A population-based study. J Epidemiol Community Health 67:95–97PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li S, Song L, Feldman MW (2009) Intergenerational support and subjective health of older people in rural China: a gender-based longitudinal study. Australas J Ageing 28:81–86PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lunn P, Fahey T (2011) Households and family structures in Ireland: a detailed statistical analysis of census 2006. Family Support Agency/The Economic and Social Research InstituteGoogle Scholar
  22. Murphy-Lawless J, McCarthy J (1999) Recent fertility change in Ireland and the future of Irish fertility. In: Below replacement fertility. Population Bulletin of the United Nations, Special Issue 40/41, pp 235–246, United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Musil CM, Gordon NL, Warner CB, Zauszniewski JA, Standing T, Wykle M (2011) Grandmothers and caregiving to grandchildren: continuity, change, and outcomes over 24 months. Gerontologist 51:86–100PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rahrig JK, Kabeto MU, Langa KM (2009) Does caring for your spouse harm one’s health? Evidence from a United States nationally-representative sample of older adults. Ageing Soc 29(2):277–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Roll A, Litwin H (2010) Intergenerational financial transfers and mental health: an analysis using SHARE-Israel data. Aging Ment Health 14:203–210PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schulz R, Beach SR (1999) Caregiving as a risk factor for mortality: the Caregiver Health Effects Study. JAMA 282:2215–2219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, P.D. (2004) World population to 2300. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Vahia IV, Meeks TW, Thompson WK, Depp CA, Zisook S, Allison M et al (2010) Subthreshold depression and successful aging in older women. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 18:212–220PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vlachantoni A, Evandrou M, Falkingham J, Robards J (2013) Informal care, health and mortality. Maturitas 74:114–118PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Whelan BJ (1979) RANSAM: a random sample design for Ireland. Econ Soc Rev 10:169–174Google Scholar
  31. Wong R, Capoferro C, Soldo BJ (1999) Financial assistance from middle-aged couples to parents and children: racial-ethnic differences. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 54:S145–S153PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zou G (2004) A modified poisson regression approach to prospective studies with binary data. Am J Epidemiol 159:702–706PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine A. McGarrigle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hilary Cronin
    • 1
  • Rose Anne Kenny
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)Trinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Mercer’s Institute for Research on AgeingSt. James’s HospitalDublin 8Ireland
  3. 3.The Trinity Institute of NeuroscienceTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland

Personalised recommendations