The ageing of the ”sandwich generation”: implication on health status in a gender perspective

Filomena Racioppi, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Alessandra De Rose, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"

The paper focuses on the middle age cohorts, that is those women and men who are nowadays in their fifties/sixties, born between 1945 and 1965. It practically coincides with the Italian post-war and Baby Boom generation which is playing a critical role in the ageing society, since it is quantitative prevailing on the preceding and the following birth cohorts and it has a great responsibility for the changes of the labour market and the crisis of the social security system. Here, we concentrate on the individual level conditions of people belonging to these generations who are presently facing the issues related to their being between the earlier and the younger in a society that still attributes to the family the duties to care after the non autonomous members (the oldest, the youngest, the handicapped); where still the gender system is highly unequal; which formal network of caring and assistance is very poor. We argue that individuals belonging to what we call the “Sandwich generation” and who are in the “middle” both as position in their life-course and as a bridge between the oldest and the youngest birth cohorts are facing new risks for their health status just related to the roles they are forced to play in the society and in their families. We also argue that these expected implications on the health status are gender biased. We analyse in a gender perspective indicators of health status, household’s characteristics, standards of living condition of people aged between 40 and 60 years old. The data refer to the ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics) Multi-Purposes Surveys on Families (2003) and the Survey on Health Conditions (2004-05).

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Presented in Session 35: Family changes and consequences on wellbeing