Providing informal care next to paid work: Explaining care-giving gratification, burden and stress among older workers

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


With an increasing retirement age, more older adults are combining employment with informal care-giving responsibilities. However, little is known about how older workers experience care-giving activities next to their paid jobs. This study aims to fill this gap by examining how the work situation (i.e. working hours, occupational status and perceived access to human resources practices) is associated with feelings of gratification, burden and stress in care-giving. Using data from the NIDI Pension Panel Survey, we study care-giving experiences – in other words, the extent to which care-giving activities are gratifying, burdensome or stressful – of 1,651 Dutch older workers (age 60–65) who provide care at least once per week. Multivariate analyses reveal that the work situation plays an explanatory role next to socio-demographic factors and indicators of the care-giving situation. Working care-givers who feel they have access to phased retirement and organisational health support experience care-giving as relatively less burdensome and stressful. Moreover, those with access to phased retirement experience relatively higher levels of gratification in care-giving. Our findings suggest that the availability of organisational support relates to lower levels of care-giving burden and stress, and to some extent to higher levels of gratification. Organisations thus play an important role in facilitating the combination of work and care-giving obligations in a context of longer working lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalAgeing & Society
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2020


  • informal care
  • employment
  • positive and negative
  • care-giving experiences
  • older workers


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