British Journal of Health Psychology

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Volume 24 Issue 4 (November 2019), Pages i-iv, 739-998

Life satisfaction of informal care recipients: Findings from the German Ageing Survey (pages 859-875)

Objectives Global judgements of life satisfaction are a core aspect of subjective well‐being, and of central relevance to understanding how those in need of care view their lives. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the association between the receipt of informal care and life satisfaction in a longitudinal setting. Design Longitudinal analysis of a population‐based data set of community‐dwelling individuals aged 40 years and older. Methods Data from the German Ageing Survey were used (Waves 2002, 2008, 2011, 2014). Fixed effects regression analysis was implemented to investigate the longitudinal association between receipt of informal care (no/yes) and life satisfaction (Satisfaction with Life Scale), while controlling for sociodemographic data (e.g., age) and health‐related factors (e.g., physical and mental health). Results Results from fixed effects longitudinal models revealed that transitioning from not receiving informal care to receiving informal care predicted a decrease in life satisfaction. This result remained stable when specific types of receipt of informal care were used as predictors. Conclusions Receiving informal care is associated with a decrease in life satisfaction, irrespective of the type of informal care received. These results highlight the necessity of taking the care recipient's perception into consideration, and indicate the imminent need for the care situation to be improved, if the life satisfaction of care recipients is to be maintained. Statement of contribution What is already known on the topic? In general, few studies investigate the care recipients’ perspective regarding outcomes associated with the receipt of informal care. Particularly, studies on the association between receipt of informal care and life satisfaction, and especially longitudinal population‐based studies, are rare. What does this study add? Evidence of a population‐based longitudinal study in a sparsely investigated field of research Our longitudinal study found recipients of informal care to report reduced life satisfaction This negative association remained stable when investigating different tasks of informal care

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