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Family Matters No. 76 - June 2007

The Families Caring for a Person with a Disability Study and the social lives of carers

Ben Edwards, Daryl Higgins and Norbert Zmijewski

Abstract

The Families Caring for a Person with a Disability Study is a collaborative project between the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, in which 1002 Australian carers were interviewed on the physical, emotional, social, family relationship, financial, and labour force impacts of caring. This article introduces the study, describing its aims and methodology, and presents initial findings on the social lives of carers. Though face to face social contact among carers is broadly comparable to that of the general population, some groups of carers experience much lower contact. The study considers risk factors, such as poor health and family members with high needs disabilities, and explores factors in the desire for more social contact.

The Families Caring for a Person with a Disability Study is a collaborative project between the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, in which 1002 Australian carers were interviewed on the physical, emotional, social, family relationship, financial, and labour force impacts of caring. This article introduces the study, describing its aims and methodology, and presents initial findings on the social lives of carers. Though face to face social contact among carers is broadly comparable to that of the general population, some groups of carers experience much lower contact. The study considers risk factors, such as poor health and family members with high needs disabilities, and explores factors in the desire for more social contact.

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