2012 Conference Presentation
Objectives: In light of an aging workforce, reconciling informal eldercare and paid work becomes increasingly pertinent. This paper investigates the association between informal eldercare and strain experienced at the workplace.
Methods: The sample of 938 Austrian employees consists of employees caring for elderly relatives and an equally large control group, having the same age and gender structure but no eldercare obligations. We run a Tobit regression model on work-related strain with different measures of informal caregiving as explanatory variables and accounting for personal characteristics and a set of workplace related variables.
Results: Including different aspects of “elder caregiving” in one estimation model revealed that informal eldercare is associated with work-related strain in two ways: Workplace strain increased with the intensity of informal eldercare (care burden, time spent on care). However, controlling additionally for other attributes of informal caregiving by adding a caregiver identifier exposed that informal eldercare also reduces work-related strain.
Discussion: Most previous work has found informal eldercare to be either positively or negatively associated with workplace behavior. We showed both effects simultaneously by using different measures of caregiving within one model. Our results indicate that a commitment to informal eldercare in addition to gainful employment does not necessarily add to work-related problems as long as care burden is not substantial and time demands of eldercare are not excessive.