The identification, measurement and consequences of informal caregiving

Student thesis: Phd


Many people worldwide provide or receive informal care. Identifying who provides informal care, measuring how much time they spend on this activity and estimating its consequences, are crucial for carer research and policy. I first performed a literature review that identified nine issues with measuring informal care time across 27 studies. I then used data from household surveys, time use surveys and a census-based survey of end-of-life caregivers in five empirical chapters. The first empirical chapter compared reports of caregiving from providers and recipients in the UK Household Longitudinal Study. It showed substantial discrepancies, with providers confirming caregiving in only 37.5% of cases reported by recipients. The next chapter compared reports of care provision based on self-declaration and completion of time diaries. Using the 2014/15 UK Time Use Survey, I found that only 17.9% of 597 carers were identified by both methods. Using the 2000/01 and 2014/15 UK Time Use Surveys, I then estimated the impact of caregiving on the allocation of several aspects of time. I showed that informal care provision results in more intensive and fragmented use of time and an increased feeling of "time stress". This analysis also provided estimates of the proportion of time attributable to caregiving, which ranged from 2% to 25% across eight household activities. I then examined how carers' use of time is related to day-to-day experienced wellbeing. I analysed whether the difference in wellbeing between carers and non-carers was due to less time spend on more enjoyable activities (a time-composition effect) or lower wellbeing returns for similar activities (a saddening/time effect). The experienced wellbeing gap was small and was due to a combination of differences in amount of time spent on leisure and the level of enjoyment of sleep. Finally, I showed the feasibility of obtaining information from a specific carer group, carers to those at end-of-life, by estimating the monetary valuation of their time. This evidence will enable improvements in the identification and measurement of informal care, as well as better understanding of the consequences of caregiving.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGunn Grande (Supervisor), Yiu-Shing Lau (Supervisor) & Matthew Sutton (Supervisor)


  • wellbeing
  • time allocation
  • unpaid care
  • informal care
  • measurement

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