Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

N. 04 - "Is caring for elderly parents detrimental to women’s mental health? The influence of the European North-South gradient" - Elenka Brenna and Cinzia Di Novi

01 gennaio 2013


In the last decades, both the lengthening of life expectancy and an accentuated decline in birth rates have reduced the consistency of the younger generational cohorts. Due to an ageing population, the burden of care giving is expected to intensify in the next quarter of the century in Europe, especially for mature women. This paper investigates the impact of the provision of constant care for elderly parents on the mental health of adult daughters, between the ages of 50 and 65, living in different European countries. Data is collected from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Information on mental health status is provided by Euro-D depression scale, a standardized measure of depression employed across European countries. We focus on differences in the effects according to a North-South gradient: we test whether the relationship between informal caregiving and mental health differs across European macro- regions. Our results reveal the presence of a North-South gradient in the effect of caring on women's mental health.

KEYWORDS: caregiver burden, depression, parent care, LTC systems, mature women

JEL Codes: I10; I12; D10


Autore: Elenka Brenna and Cinzia Di Novi

Anno: 2013