9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 The challenge of combining care and employment Building II, C5.06

Norwegian Sandwich. On the prevalence and consequences of family and work role squeezes in midlife

Population ageing challenge profoundly the current balance between generations. Governments are responding with policies to promote active ageing (i.e. later retirement), intergenerational solidarity (i.e. family care), and equal (gender) opportunity. These ideals may conflict in midlife when family obligations can be hard to reconcile with paid work. Yet we know little about the prevalence of role squeezes, and even less about the consequences. This paper describes the prevalence of different forms of family and work configurations in the Norwegian case, and analyses adaptive strategies and social outcomes.

Analyses are based on data from the joint NorLAG and LOGG studies (n=ca 15 200, age 18-84).

Preliminary findings indicate that around 75% of the popuation aged 35-50 are located in-between children and parents, falling to about 50% in the mid-50s, of which four out of ten have parents in need of help. Most of them are still in paid work and seem able to reconcile work and family obligations, although some - mostly women (daughters) - adapt by assuming part-time work. Only few have both parents and children in need of care at the same time - 6-7 per cent at the highest between the ages of 35 and 45.

The paper also discusses the extent to which paid work is a burden or a relief for family carers, and more generally, what the consequences of role squeezes are for social integration, quality of life, and health.