Care Inequalities: Unpaid carers and their material, relational and subjective wellbeing.
In England, more than 6 million unpaid carers support people who need help to manage everyday activities, usually because of illness, disability, or advanced age. Research shows that providing care tends to have negative effects on their wellbeing. This seminar draws together research conducted as part of the Sustainable Care programme and explores inequalities in care, including the social gradients of unpaid care, the impact of unpaid carers’ responsibilities on their wellbeing, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in exacerbating these care inequalities. Utilising large-scale representative survey data contained in the British Household Panel Survey and the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society), the research follows people over time to explore who is most likely to become an unpaid carer, and to understand how the nature of their caring responsibilities (the location of care, the relationship between the unpaid carer-care recipient, and intensity of care) and their circumstances impact on their employment status transitions, and subjective and objective health (allostatic load).
Matt Bennett is a Professorial Research Fellow in CIRCLE (Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities) and Sociological Studies, at the University of Sheffield. Matt holds an associate position in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, where he is also the Co-Director of the month-long Social Impact Fellowship (Matt was himself awarded a Social Impact Fellowship in 2013). Matt’s research interests are in inequalities and wellbeing outcomes of care, prosocial behaviour and social diversity. He is Co-Investigator in the ESRC ‘Sustainable Care’ and NIHR ‘Achieving Closure?’ programmes that look at the cost and contributions of care and the impact of care home closures. He is also Principal Investigator on an ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative award that looks at the impact of social diversity on stress (allostatic load) and wellbeing. His expertise is in linking and analysing large-scale surveys and administrative datasets using advanced statistical methods.