Journal of Population Ageing

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 387–403 | Cite as

Impact of Parenthood, Informal Caregiving and its Combination on Self-Rated Health - a Population-Based Study in Switzerland

  • Nadine HäuslerEmail author
  • Oliver Hämmig
  • Matthias Bopp


In view of the lack of representative longitudinal studies comparing the effect of different caregiving situations on self-rated health, we aim to study the effect of parenting underage children and informal caregiving with or without children on self-rated health at baseline and one year later and whether this effect differs between the sexes. Sex-stratified linear mixed models were performed to assess the effect of different informal caregiving situations on self-rated health at baseline and one year later, using data from the Swiss Labor Force Survey. In Switzerland, the percentage of informal caregivers with and without children is low and has been decreasing since 1997. Informal male caregivers with and without children reported significantly worse health at baseline, whereas no significant difference was found for informal female caregivers. Mothers and fathers (defined as living with underage child(ren) in the same household) without informal caregiving responsibilities reported slightly better health compared to non-caregivers. The caregiving situation did not affect the general decline in self-rated health for women, whereas fathers reported significantly worse and informal male caregivers significantly better health one year later compared to the change in self-rated health among non-caregivers. Being parent, informal caregiving and the combination of both have a substantial impact on self-rated health at baseline and one year later. The effects however differ between men and women as well as between caregiving roles. More population-based studies investigating the effect of informal caregiving on health outcomes among both sexes are needed.


Informal caregivers Parents Sandwich-generation Sex differences Health status 



We thank the Swiss Federal Statistical Office for providing access to the individual data of the Swiss Labor Force Survey (Schweizerische Arbeitskräfteerhebung) 1997-2014, Julia Braun for the statistical counseling and Milo Puhan for his expertise and comments on this article.


This work is part of the project “Ageing, Work & Health” which is funded by the Pfizer Foundation for Geriatrics and Gerontology. The funding source had no role in the design and conduct of the study, analysis and interpretation of the data, preparation, review or approval of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadine Häusler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Oliver Hämmig
    • 1
  • Matthias Bopp
    • 1
  1. 1.Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention InstituteUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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