The aging demographic profile of the American population coupled with the increased burden of chronic disease is increasing the demand for care – both within the healthcare system and within the home. As a result of these trends, a large proportion of the population is facing the competing demands of working and caring for a loved one. In the study presented here, we investigated the impact of informal caregiving, employment, and the combination of these responsibilities on the overall well-being of 243,997 Americans surveyed using the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being IndexTM (GHWBI). Results demonstrated that caregivers typically have lower levels of well-being compared with non-caregivers of the same employment status; however, employment is associated with greater well-being, even among caregivers. These findings were fairly consistent across all sub-domains of well-being, demonstrating that employment has a broad-based positive affect on the lives of workers, and that the beneficial impact of employment on wellbeing often supersedes any detrimental impact of caregiving. In conclusion, the higher well-being reported by employed caregivers compared with their non-employed counterparts suggests that there are benefits of employment, such as financial security and social support, that can ease the burden of the caregiving role.
Outcomes and Insights in Health Management is a Healthways publication that covers scientific research that was elected to not be submitted for peer review.