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Eur J Ageing. 2018 Feb 12;15(4):369-377. doi: 10.1007/s10433-018-0459-2. eCollection 2018 Dec.

Parental health limitations, caregiving and loneliness among women with widowed parents: longitudinal evidence from France.

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1
1London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
2
2University of Essex, Colchester, UK.

Abstract

We investigate how daughters' feelings of loneliness are impacted when widowed parents develop health limitations, and when daughters take on personal care tasks in response. Using longitudinal data from daughters of widowed parents drawn from the French Family and Intergenerational Relationships Study (ERFI, 1485 observations nested in 557 daughters), we assess (a) whether health limitations of widowed parents are associated with daughters' feelings of loneliness regardless of whether or not daughters provide personal care and (b) whether there is an effect of care provision on loneliness that cannot be explained by parental health limitations. Fixed effect regression analyses show that widowed parents' health limitations were associated with raised feelings of loneliness among their daughters. No significant additional effect of providing personal care to a widowed parent was found. Prior research on the impact of health limitations of older parents on the lives of their adult-children has focused mostly on issues related to informal caregiving. Our findings suggest that more attention to the psychosocial impact of parental health limitations-net of actual caregiving-on adult children's lives is warranted.

KEYWORDS:

Fixed effects; Intergenerational support; Life course; Linked lives; Mental health; Wellbeing

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