Is Parent Care Normative? The Experiences of a Sample of Middle-Aged Women
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In the current literature on parent care, the assertion is made that modern women at some time in their lives may expect to be sandwiched between responsibilities to old parents and their other commitments. This article presents the distribution for a random sample of 163 women aged 40 to 69 with respect to combinations of variables or commitment configurations that have been identified in the literature as contributing to women's being "caught in the middle." In addition, the lifetime caregiving experiences and the likelihood that those who have not yet been caregivers will be "caught" are examined for a subsample of the women. The argument is made that adult children rather than caregivers to frail parents are the appropriate population on which to focus if the incidence and prevalence of the involvement of adult children in parent care are to be ascertained.
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