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Maria Stanfors. Foto.

Maria Stanfors


Maria Stanfors. Foto.

Unpaid care for parents, coresidence, and psychological well-being among older working-age men and women across Europe


  • Elisa Labbas
  • Maria Stanfors

Summary, in English

Given population aging and the emphasis on in-home care, more working-age adults face demands of providing unpaid care to the elderly with potential implications for their wellbeing. Such effects likely vary across Europe because care is differently organized with more or less public support, dependence on family, and orientation toward gender equality. We studied the relationship between unpaid caregiving to elderly parents and psychological wellbeing of older working-age (50-64) men and women in a pan-European context analysing data from the Survey of Health, Retirement, and Ageing in Europe (SHARE), covering 18 countries between 2004 and 2020 (N=24,338) and estimating ordinary least squares and fixed effects models. We examined depression and quality of life by caregiving intensity and tested whether coresidence mediated outcomes. Women and men who provide care to parents experience important psychological well-being losses across Europe, especially when caregiving is intensive. A heavier caregiving burden associated with coresidence explains a regime gradient in depression, not least for women in Southern Europe. Outcomes depend on context rather than objective burden of care because even women in the Nordic countries experience increased risk of depression associated with caregiving. Results highlight spillover costs of unpaid caregiving across Europe and the need to address caregiver psychological well-being, especially in contexts where state support for elderly care is low and coresidence is common.


  • Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen
  • Centrum för ekonomisk demografi
  • Historiska arbetsmarknader






Lund Papers in Economic Demography




Working paper


  • Economics and Business
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Unpaid caregiving
  • Psychological well-being
  • Coresidence
  • Gender
  • Country comparison
  • OLS
  • Fixed effects regression




  • Comparative studies on unpaid caregiving in Europe
  • Longer working lives and unpaid caregiving: costs, conflicts and tradeoffs in a comparative perspective
  • Longer working lives and informal caregiving: Tradeoffs and economic value