The impact of being the intermediate caring generation and intergenerational transfers on self-reported health of women in Ireland

Int J Public Health. 2014 Apr;59(2):301-8. doi: 10.1007/s00038-013-0521-y. Epub 2013 Oct 11.


Objectives: To investigate the associations with being the "sandwich generation" in older women in Ireland and its impact on self-reported health.

Methods: Analysis of 3,196 women from wave 1 of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) was undertaken. Poisson regression was used to determine whether intergenerational transfers, were associated with self-rated physical health and depression, when controlling for other socio-demographic variables.

Results: Multivariate analysis found that women in the sandwich generation who financially supported their children had better self-rated physical health (poor/fair health relative to excellent; RR 0.84, 95 % CI 0.72-0.97). Conversely, the women who provided other care for their children showed evidence of poorer mental health (case-level depression, RR 1.35, 95 %CI 1.05-1.73). Providing financial support for parents was associated with case-level depression (RR 2.21, 95 %CI 1.26-3.86).

Conclusions: Supporting two generations was associated with both better self-rated health and poorer mental health, depending on the type and direction of the transfers. This generation of women have substantial caring responsibilities. Strategies to address the stresses associated with bi-directional intergenerational transfers are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Ireland
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Self Report