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Choice and wellbeing in informal care

Al-Janabi, Hareth and Carmichael, Fiona and Oyebode, Jan (2015) Choice and wellbeing in informal care. Discussion Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

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‘Choice’ is increasingly pursued as a goal of social policy. However the degree to which choice is exercised when entering an informal care role is open to debate. In this study of UK carers, we examined whether caring was perceived as a free choice, and what the consequence of choice was for carers’ wellbeing. Our data were derived from responses to a postal survey conducted in a large British city. One thousand one hundred respondents reported providing care to a close person and of these, 72% answered a further set of questions about caregiving and about their own well-being. We found that informal care was generally perceived to be a free choice, albeit in most cases, a choice that was constrained by duty, financial or social resources. Having a sense of free choice in entering care was strongly and positively associated with wellbeing. The positive impact on wellbeing persisted across different measures of wellbeing and when controlling for socio-demographic characteristics and the nature of the caring role. Further work is needed to better understand the modifiable aspects of choice for carers. Nonetheless, this study suggests that enabling individuals to have more choice in their caring roles may improve their lives.

Type of Work:Monograph (Discussion Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Number of Pages:19
Department:Birmingham Business School
Date:22 December 2015
Series/Collection Name:Birmingham Business School Discussion Paper Series
Keywords:choice; informal care; motivation; wellbeing; UK
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Funders:MRC early career fellowship in economics of health (Hareth Al-Janabi)
Copyright Status:This discussion paper is copyright of the University and the author. In addition, parts of the paper may feature content whose copyright is owned by a third party, but which has been used either by permission or under the Fair Dealing provisions. The intellectual property rights in respect of this work are as defined by the terms of any licence that is attached to the paper. Where no licence is associated with the work, any subsequent use is subject to the terms of The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (or as modified by any successor legislation). Any reproduction of the whole or part of this paper must be in accordance with the licence or the Act (whichever is applicable) and must be properly acknowledged. For non-commercial research and for private study purposes, copies of the paper may be made/distributed and quotations used with due attribution. Commercial distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holders.
Copyright Holders:The Authors and the University of Birmingham
ID Code:2097

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