Health, well-being, and social support in older Australian lesbian and gay care-givers
Beatrice, A, Lyons, A, Waling, A, Minichiello, Hughes, M, Barrett, C, Fredriksen-Goldsen, K & Edmonds, S in press, 'Health, well-being, and social support in older Australian lesbian and gay care-givers', Health and Social Care in the Community.
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Informal care‐givers play an important role in society, and many of the people who provide this care are lesbian women and gay men. Being a care‐giver is known to be associated with poorer health and well‐being, and lesbian and gay care‐givers re‐port experiences of stigma and discrimination in the care‐giving context. This study involved a survey of 230 lesbian women and 503 gay men aged 60 years and over living in Australia, of which 218 were care‐givers. We compared care‐givers to non‐caregivers on a range of health and well‐being measures, including psychological dis‐tress, positive mental health, physical health and social support. While we found no significant differences between these two groups, we further compared care‐givers who were caring for an LGBTI person to those who were caring for a non‐LGBTI person. Among the lesbian women, care‐givers of an LGBTI person reported feeling less supported in their carer role and reported lower levels of social support more generally. They were also lower on positive mental health and physical health indica‐tors. Among the gay men, care‐givers of an LGBTI person also reported feeling less supported in their carer role, but there were no differences in reported levels of social support more generally or health and well‐being compared to those caring for a non‐LGBTI person. Overall, results from this study suggest that older lesbian and gay care‐givers may be facing some challenges related to their well‐being and feeling supported, especially if they are caring for another LGBTI person.