Differences in caregiving intensity among distinct sociodemographic subgroups of informal caregivers: Joint effects of race/ethnicity, gender, and employment

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More than 40 million informal caregivers in the United States provide essential care to older adults. Recent research has identified substantial differences in caregiving intensity by gender, race/ethnicity, and employment status. Using intersectionality theory, the current study extends the existing literature by exploring the relationship between caregiving intensity and the unique experiences of individuals with different intersections of gender, ethnicity, and employment. We used generalized linear models to estimate multivariate associations between caregiving intensity assessed by three different measures (hours of caregiving per month and number of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living [IADLs] assisted with) and the three sociodemographic factors of interest (race/ethnicity, gender, and employment status). Unemployed White males provided, on average, 77 fewer hours per month of care (p < 0.001) and assisted with 1.9 fewer IADLs (p = 0.004) than unemployed Black males. Employed White females provided 42.6 fewer hours per month of care (p = 0.002) than employed Black females and 49.2 fewer hours per month (p = 0.036) than employed females of other races. Study findings suggest that examining racial/ethnic or gender differences in isolation does not provide a true picture of differences in caregiving intensity. There is a critical need to understand how the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, employment, and other sociodemographic factors shape the experiences of caregiver subgroups.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Gerontological Nursing