The subjective wellbeing of family-based carers: a national disgrace

25 Jul 2008

This paper from the AIFS Conference 2008 found that family-based carers in Australia have the lowest collective wellbeing of any group yet discovered in seven years of this project's study of the Australian population. This paper concerns the subjective wellbeing of family-based carers in Australia. The research to be reported is the product of a partnership between Carers Australia, Australian Unity, and Deakin University. It concerns a survey conducted in 2007 in which 10,939 questionnaires were distributed to known carers and 4,107 were returned in time for processing. Two major outcome variables were measured as Subjective Wellbeing and psychopathology. The major result is that Carers have the lowest collective wellbeing of any group we have yet discovered in seven years of studying the Australian population. Consistent with this, they have a median rating of moderate depression. Carers seem to face a double jeopardy in all dimensions of life, in that they are more likely to experience hardship and are more severely affected by such experience. For example, over one third of those who are employed are very worried about losing their job, and their average household income is lower than is normal within the general population. Thus, their ability to pay for household essentials, save money, and have financial security, are all severely comprised. In sum, this is a highly disadvantaged and large group of citizens whose level of wellbeing is so low that it not only compromises their own functioning but also the functioning of the care recipient and the family as a whole. More financial and service resources are desperately needed to allow these families to experience a reasonable level of life quality.

From the 10th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference 2008 - Families Through Life

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