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Gerontologist. 1992 Aug;32(4):498-507.

Gender differences in caregiving: fact or artifact?

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  • 1Department of Medical Social Work, University of Illinois, Chicago 60612.


This study applies meta-analysis techniques to the results of 14 descriptive studies of gender differences in caregiving to determine the size and significance of gender differences in caregiving stressors (level of elder impairment and level and type of task involvement) and in caregiver burden. There were essentially no significant gender differences in functional impairment of the frail care recipient, total caregiver involvement in care, or in money management tasks. Female caregivers were more likely to carry out personal care and household tasks and more likely to report greater burden. Given the relatively small size of the effects found, we conclude that future research should focus on the part that gender-role explanations play in assigning meaning to caregiving behaviors.

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