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Networks of Informal Caring: A Mixed-Methods Approach*

  • Alasdair Rutherford (a1) and Alison Bowes (a1)

Care for older people is a complex phenomenon, and is an area of pressing policy concern. Bringing together literature on care from social gerontology and economics, we report the findings of a mixed-methods project exploring networks of informal caring. Using quantitative data from the British Household Panel Survey (official survey of British households), together with qualitative interviews with older people and informal carers, we describe differences in formal care networks, and the factors and decision-making processes that have contributed to the formation of the networks. A network approach to care permits both quantitative and qualitative study, and the approach can be used to explore many important questions.

La prise en charge des soins des personnes âgées est un phénomène complexe et un sujet de préoccupation politique urgent. En rassemblant des littératures sur les prises en charge des soins venant des domaines de la gerontologie sociale et de l’economie, nous rapportons les résultats d’un projet de méthodes mixtes explorant les réseaux de prise en charge des soins informels. À l’aide de données quantitatives provenant du « British Household Panel Survey » (sondage officiel sur des menages britanniques), ainsi que des entretiens qualitatifs avec des personnes âgées et des travailleurs sociaux informels, nous décrivons des réseaux de prise en charge des soins informels différents, et les facteurs et processus décisifs qui ont contribué à la formation des réseaux. Une approche basée sur des réseaux de prise en charge des soins permet une étude à la fois quantitative et qualitative, et peut être utilisée pour explorer plusieurs questions importantes.

Corresponding author
La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doiventêtreadressées à: / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Alasdair Rutherford, Ph.D. School of Applied Social Science University of Stirling Stirling, FK9 4LA, United Kingdom (
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This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Centre for Population Change.

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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
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