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Are reasons for caregiving related to carers’ care-related quality of life and strain? Evidence from a survey of carers in England

Rand, Stacey, Malley, Juliette Malley, Forder, Julien E. (2019) Are reasons for caregiving related to carers’ care-related quality of life and strain? Evidence from a survey of carers in England. Health and Social Care in the Community, 27 (1). pp. 151-160. ISSN 0966-0410. E-ISSN 1365-2524. (doi:10.1111/hsc.12634) (KAR id:67575)

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In England, choice and control is promoted for service users in relation to social care services. Increased choice and control has also been promoted for unpaid carers, although this is still relatively underdeveloped. There is limited recognition of carers’ choice in terms of the decision of whether to provide care. Alongside the promotion of choice and control, there has also been a focus on quality of life as an outcome of social care for care-recipients and their carers. While it is known that carer choice (in terms of the decision of whether or not to provide care) is related to increased burden and poorer psychological health, there is limited evidence of the relationship between reasons for caring and care-related quality of life (CRQoL) and subjective strain in England. In this study, 387 carers were surveyed across 22 English local authorities between June 2013 and March 2014. Multiple regression analysis explored the relationship between carer-reported reasons for caring and CRQoL and strain, whilst controlling for individual characteristics (e.g. age). Reasons for caring were important predictors of CRQoL and strain. Where people were carers because social services suggested it or the care-recipient would not want help from anyone else, this was related to lower CRQoL. By contrast, where carers took on caregiving because they had time to care, this was significantly associated with better CRQoL. Carers reported greater strain where they provided care because it was expected of them. These findings are relevant to policy and practice because they indicate that, while social care systems rely on carers, the limiting of carers’ choice of whether to provide care is related to worse outcomes. Increased awareness of this relationship would be beneficial in developing policy and practice that improves the QoL of care-recipients and also their carers.

What is known about the topic

• Social care policy in England seeks to promote choice for service users and carers

• Carer choice in terms of whether to provide care is often unacknowledged

• Reasons for providing care are related to subjective burden and psychological health.

What the paper adds

• Caring because of social services’ or care-recipients’ expectations was related to lower care-related quality of life, which is a key outcome of adult social care

• Providing care because it is expected of the carer was related to greater carer strain

• Increased awareness of the relationship between carers’ reasons for caring and outcomes may usefully inform policy and practice that seeks to improve carers’ quality of life.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/hsc.12634
Uncontrolled keywords: Quality of life; caregiver; long-term care; quality of services; ASCOT
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Personal Social Services Research Unit
Depositing User: Stacey Rand
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2018 08:54 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 13:45 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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