Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 173–189 | Cite as

Associations between informal care, disease, and risk factors: A Spanish country-wide population-based study

  • Luís González-de PazEmail author
  • Jordi Real
  • Alicia Borrás-Santos
  • José M Martínez-Sánchez
  • Virginia Rodrigo-Baños
  • María Dolores Navarro-Rubio
Original Article


This population-based study using 2011–2012 Spanish National Health Survey data aimed to measure the impact of disease, health-related habits, and risk factors associated with informal caregiving. We included and matched self-reported informal caregivers [ICs] with controls (1:4) from the same survey. For each outcome, we analyzed associations between ICs and controls using linear regression or logistic regression models. ICs had 3.4 per cent more depression (OR: 1.33, 95 per cent confidence intervals [CI]:1.06, 1.68). ICs had lower social support (95 per cent CI: 1.64, 3.28), they did more housework alone (OR:3.6, 95 per cent CI:2.65, 4.89), and had greater stress (95 per cent CI:0.13, 0.83). Women ICs caring alone had more anxiety than other groups. We found no statistical association between caregivers and worse health-related habits or increased risk factors (less physical activity, smoking, drinking, and cholesterol). Our results provide evidence that health-care professionals and organizations should recognize the importance of caring for those who care.


caregivers risk factors burden social support quality of life 



The authors thank Dr. Belchin Kostov, Transverse Group for Research in Primary Care, IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain, for his valuable comments, Dr Montse Neira León, Deputy Director of Health Information and Innovation, Spanish Ministry of Health and Social Policy, Madrid, Spain, and David Buss for technical help.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luís González-de Paz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jordi Real
    • 1
    • 3
  • Alicia Borrás-Santos
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • José M Martínez-Sánchez
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  • Virginia Rodrigo-Baños
    • 2
  • María Dolores Navarro-Rubio
    • 1
    • 9
    • 10
  1. 1.Facultat de Medicina i Ciencies de la Salut, Public Health Unit, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Internacional de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Centre d’Atenció Primària Les Corts. Transverse Group for Research in Primary Care, IDIBAPSBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Institut d’Investigació en Atenció Primària Jordi Gol (IDIAP Jordi Gol). USR-LleidaLleidaSpain
  4. 4.Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES)MadridSpain
  5. 5.Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL)BarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.Biostatistics Unit, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Internacional de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  7. 7.Tobacco Control Unit, Cancer Prevention and Control Programme, Catalan Institute of Oncology-ICOBarcelonaSpain
  8. 8.Cancer Control and Prevention Group, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute-IDIBELLBarcelonaSpain
  9. 9.Albert Jovell Institute for Public Health and Patients. Universitat Internacional de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  10. 10.Spanish Patient’s ForumBarcelonaSpain

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