Gender differences in caregiver stressors, social resources, and health: an updated meta-analysis

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2006 Jan;61(1):P33-45. doi: 10.1093/geronb/61.1.p33.


This meta-analysis integrates results from 229 studies on gender differences in caregiver psychological and physical health, caregiving stressors, and social resources. Contrary to common perceptions, gender differences in caregiving variables were small to very small. Women had higher levels of burden and depression, and lower levels of subjective well-being and physical health. They reported that their care recipient had more behavioral problems; they provided more caregiving hours, helped with more caregiving tasks, and assisted with more personal care. Women and men did not differ in the use of informal and formal support. Statistically controlling for gender differences in stressors and resources reduced the size of gender differences in depression and physical health to levels that have been observed in noncaregiving samples. The results support stress-and-coping theories on gender differences in caregiving.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*