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J Appl Dev Psychol. 2010 Jan 1;31(1):38-46.

The Association between Membership in the Sandwich Generation and Health Behaviors: A Longitudinal Study.

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1
Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Box 871104, Tempe, AZ 85287-1104, United States; Email: lchassin@asu.edu , presson@asu.edu .

Abstract

The current study examined the association between membership in the sandwich generation, defined as providing care to both children and parents or in-laws, and five health behaviors: checking the food label for health value when buying foods, using a seat belt, choosing foods based on health value, exercising regularly, and cigarette smoking. Participants (N=4943) were from a longitudinal study of a midwestern community-based sample. Regression analyses tested the unique effect of sandwich generation membership on health behaviors above and beyond demographic factors and prior levels of the same behavior. Compared to other caregivers and noncaregivers, multigenerational caregivers were less likely to check food labels and to choose foods based on health values. Multigenerational caregivers were less likely than noncaregivers and those who cared for children only to use seat belts, and they smoked marginally more cigarettes per day than those groups. Multigenerational caregivers were less likely than noncaregivers and those who cared for parents/in-laws only to exercise regularly. Thus, in general, healthy behaviors were diminished for multigenerational caregivers.

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