The Effect of Informal Caregiving on Physical Health among Non-Migrants and Ethnic German Immigrants in Germany. A Cohort Analysis Based on the GSOEP 2000-2018

Daniela Georges , Universität Rostock

Background: Both the number of people in need of care in Germany and the number of (old-aged) people with a migration background has been rising since decades. This study analysed the impact caregiving has on physical health outcomes in a comparative perspective for Ethnic German Immigrants (EGI) – the largest and oldest immigrant group in Germany – and non-migrant Germans (NMG). Methods: The sample was drawn from the years 2000-2018 of the German Socio-Economic Panel (n=26,354). NMG (n=24,634) and EGI (n=1,720) were categorized into non-caregivers (n=24,379), and caregivers (n=1,975), where the latter were distinguished by their caregiving status and history (current or former caregiver). Generalized Estimating Equations were applied to examine main effects and the interaction effects of caregiving status and migration background for changes in physical health (n=102,066 observations). Results: Adjusting for socioeconomic, household related, and individual characteristics, NMG and EGI had similar caregiving patterns and physical health. However, the caregiving-migration-interaction revealed significantly higher declines in physical health for currently caregiving and long-term caregiving EGI. Sensitivity analyses indicated the moderating effect of socioeconomic resources. Conclusions: Findings suggest that caregiving is associated with declines in physical health, particularly in the short term and for EGI. This implies that care-related disadvantages accumulate and that the association of caregiving, health and associated determinants are shaped by migration background. Both the health disadvantages of caregivers and EGI might be mitigated by a positive social and socioeconomic setting, which highlights the relevance of supporting (financial and care-related) structures for these subgroups.

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 Presented in Session 5. Migration and Health