A COMPARISON WITH
Existing research provides valuable information about certain subgroups, for example those caring for dementia sufferers and the
elderly, which is vital for practice and for providing services. But it
is limited in representation and does not establish whether carers, as
a group, are substantially different from other community groups,
specifically in warranting government priority in allocating resources.
The few previous comparisons with non-carers have been limited to
a particular disability or age-group, and/or in the size and representativeness of the sample.
To overcome these limitations, our survey included as a comparison a representative sample of 219 'non-carers' drawn at random
from the same population as our carers. We assessed differences
between carers and non-carers in five areas:
|• ||self-reported physical health|
|• ||psychological well-being|
|• ||life satisfaction|
|• ||social support|
|• ||feelings of overload.
Given the preponderance of women carers and the possibility that
men and women may experience the role differently,
3 our comparison
was limited to women. The comparison group was further restricted
to those living with a partner, children or both; that is, women with
usual household and/or parenting responsibilities. The aim was to
obtain a comparison sample which highlighted differences emanating