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Norwegian sandwiches

On the prevalence and consequences of family and work role squeezes over the life course

Abstract

Population ageing changes profoundly the current balance between generations. Governments are responding with policies to promote later retirement and family care, but these ideals may come in conflict in mid-life when family obligations can be hard to reconcile with employment. Yet we know little about the prevalence of being “sandwiched”, and even less about the consequences. This article maps out the prevalence of different forms of family and work sandwiching for the Norwegian population, and explores adaptive strategies and psycho-social outcomes. The analyses are based on data from the NorLAG and LOGG studies (n = 15 109, age 18–84). Preliminary findings indicate that 75–80% of the population are located in-between younger and older family generations in mid-life, the great majority are at the same time in paid work, but comparatively few (8–9% aged 35–45) have both children and parents in need at the same time, and fewer still (3%) are then also caregivers to older parents. Although few in proportion of their age group, they add up to a considerable number of persons. Women are more likely to reduce work in response to family needs than men. Implications of family and work sandwiching for health and well-being are analysed.

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Correspondence to Svein Olav Daatland.

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Communicated by Hans-Werner Wahl.

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Daatland, S.O., Veenstra, M. & Lima, I.A. Norwegian sandwiches. Eur J Ageing 7, 271–281 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-010-0163-3

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Keywords

  • Multiple roles
  • Family and work
  • Generations
  • Life-course
  • Subjective well-being