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This paper analyzes a multi-national sample comparing self-reported well-being of those who provide dependent care to that of non-caregivers. We pair individual-level data from the 2004 European Social Survey (ESS) for respondents in 22 nations (n=41,000+) with country-level measures of attitudinal support for co-residential familial caregiving (2007 Eurobarometer), old age and family public transfers (OECD Social Expenditures Database, 2014) and economic development (GDP). Using multi-level modeling, we examine the association between country-level co-residential familial attitudes and public spending and individual-level caregiver well-being, comparing effects by gender. We find that: (1) caregiving is differentially associated with well-being for men and women; (2) female caregivers report worse well-being than male caregivers in countries with greater attitudinal support for co-residential familial caregiving; (3) caregivers, regardless of gender, report better well-being in countries with more generous old age transfers. These findings are important in the context of Europe’s population structure and the threats to public spending for dependent populations.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in European Sociological Review, volume 30, issue 5, in 2014 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [insert complete citation information here] is available online at DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcu065.

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