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



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


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.


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).


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.


Ageing TILDA Intergenerational relations Health status Depression 



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).


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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

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