Cross-country variations in the caregiver role: evidence from the ENTWINE-iCohort study

Mikołaj Zarzycki, Noa Vilchinsky, Eva Bei, Giulia Ferraris, Diane Seddon, Val Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Globally, economically developed countries face similar ageing demographics and the challenge of a ‘care gap’, yet they vary due to different care and formal support systems, and different cultural and societal norms around illness and care. The aim of this exploratory study was to examine cross-country variations in caregiver motivations, willingness, values, meaning in life, illness beliefs, and experiences of wellbeing, gain, health-related quality of life, burden and depression, across 6 European countries and Israel. Cross-country differences in the above-mentioned informal caregiver experiences are rarely described. Methods: An online survey (ENTWINE-iCohort) was conducted using validated measures wherever possible. This paper utilises data from 879 caregivers and seven countries (Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the UK, and Israel). Results: No consistent finding supporting the concurrent relationship between caregiver support policies/country culture and caregiver motivations/willingness was found. Caregivers in countries typically characterised by individualist cultures reported lower familism, higher self-enhancement values, and greater perceived illness threat compared to more collectivist countries. Search for meaning was higher in poorer countries than in wealthier countries. Higher negative caregiver experiences (e.g., burden) and lower positive experiences (e.g., wellbeing) were generally observed in countries with underdeveloped caregiver support as compared to countries with more developed formal support systems. Conclusions: Cross-country variations can be explained to varying degrees by national policies around care (or their absence) and country cultural contexts. The results emphasise the importance of formal support services for achieving positive caregiver experiences, and help inform the development of policies and measures to support caregivers in Europe and Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Article number898
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2024


  • Caregiver outcomes
  • Caregiver values
  • Cross-country analysis
  • Culture
  • Illness beliefs
  • Informal caregiving
  • Meaning in life
  • Motivations and willingness to care
  • Society

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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