Diverse experiences of unpaid carers across the caring trajectory

Diane Fox In progress  


The number of people caring for disabled, elderly or ill relatives, partners or friends is growing, so finding the most effective ways to support them in their caring role is increasingly important.

The experience of providing support can vary widely, but most research involves carers of people with one condition or disability, rather than comparing carers of people with different conditions. Comparing carers in different circumstances can be useful to find out what support particular groups of carers need. In addition, very little research has explored how the experience of caring changes over time.


The main aim of this study is to understand the factors linked to carers’ satisfaction with social services and quality of life over time.


A questionnaire will be sent to a sample of carers recruited via four local authorities containing questions previously collected in the 2018/19 Personal Social Survey for Adult Carers in England, plus additional questions. The degree to which carers’ satisfaction and quality of life scores differ from scores collected in 2018/19 will be examined. Factors associated with changes will be explored and the scores of subgroups of carers will be compared.

Sixty semi-structured telephone interviews will be conducted, including a subset of survey participants. The remaining interviews will be with a sample of carers more likely to be excluded from services and research, including carers from ethnic minority communities and/or carers who identify as LGBT+. They will be invited to take part in the study via community groups, informal networks and social media. The interviews will provide further in-depth information about the services, support and other factors carers find helpful in maintaining their satisfaction with social care services and quality of life over time.


Project website: https://www.pssru.ac.uk/decat/homepage/

Blog: Fox D, Rudczenko M (2021) Unpaid carers help shape research, 26 March, PSSRU – https://www.pssru.ac.uk/blog/unpaid-carers-help-shape-research/