The extent and predictors of discrepancy between provider and recipient reports of informal caregiving

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Informal care research mainly relies upon carers reporting that they provide this type of care. Little is known about whether reports from recipients would produce similar information. We explore whether providers and recipients are in agreement with each other’s reports of informal care at the extensive and intensive margin and whether particular characteristics of providers and recipients predict any discrepancies. Using data from the 2015-2017 wave of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), we find that among those who reported receiving informal care a provider confirmed only 37.5% of these. Each additional restriction on activities and instrumental activities of daily living for a recipient increases the probability of agreement by 5.2 and 9.3 percentage points, respectively. When both parties report informal care, providers report on average 10.55 (37%) more hours per week compared to recipients. This represents an annual difference of £12,081 using the replacement monetary valuation method. If we rely on recipient reports, we may be more likely to capture how many in the population are caregivers. However, we may also be less likely to capture the full hours of care for each caregiver. These discrepancies in reported caregiving affect studies of the consequences of caregiving and economic evaluations of interventions that impact on caregiving.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113890
Pages (from-to)113890
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021


  • Ageing
  • Informal care
  • Long-term care
  • Measurement


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