PhD candidate in sociology who led the study, Angelina Grigoryeva, revealed that daughters provide an average of 12.3 hours of parental care a month, in comparison with their sons who provide almost half of that at 5.6 hours.
The study also reported that the reasons we provide this care is strongly influenced by gender. While women base the amount of time they look after their parents off outside constraints like work commitments and childcare, men are influenced by whether or not alternative caregivers are available (ie. sister or parent’s spouse):
“Son’s reduce their relative care-giving efforts when they have a sister, while daughters increase theirs when they have a brother,” Grigoryeva said. This research, discussed in the paper When Gender Trumps Everything: The Division of Parent Care Among Siblings, uses data from a 2004 study at the University of Michigan, which involved over 26,000 Americans aged 50 and over.
Grigoryeva emphasises the importance of these findings in understanding gender inequality, as numerous studies indicate the negative health consequences of providing care for family members. The study is to be presented at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.