Differences within Differences: Gender Inequalities in Caregiving Intensity Vary by Race and Ethnicity in Informal Caregivers

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© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Among the 50+ million informal caregivers in the US, substantial gender, racial/ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in caregiving intensity are well-documented. However, those disparities may be more nuanced: gender disparities in caregiving intensity may vary by race/ethnicity (White, Black, and Hispanic) and socioeconomic status (SES). We used data from the 2011 National Study of Caregiving and applied generalized linear models to estimate associations between three measures of caregiver intensity (ADLs, IADLs, and hours caregiving/month) and the three sociodemographic factors with their interaction terms. Black female caregivers provided significantly higher levels of care than White females and males for both IADL caregiving and hours/month spent caregiving. Black caregivers spent an average of 28.5 more hours/month (95%CI 1.7–45.2) caregiving than White caregivers. These findings highlight the need to understand the complex disparities within population subgroups and how intersections between gender, race/ethnicity, and SES can be used to develop effective policies to reduce disparities and improve caregiver quality-of-life.

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