Diverse experiences of unpaid carers across the caring trajectory

Diane Fox In progress  


The number of people caring for an elderly, sick or disabled relative is growing worldwide, so finding the optimum ways to support them in their caring role is increasingly important.

The experiences of people supporting a friend or relative who needs help because of an illness, disability or frailty can be very different. The differences can be shaped by many things including time. Very little research has explored how caring changes over time. In addition, most research involves carers of people with a specific health condition, but does not compare results for carers of people with other conditions. Comparing different groups of carers can be useful to find out what support particular groups of carers need.


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


A questionnaire will be sent to a sample of carers recruited via local authorities containing repeated measures previously collected in the 2018/19 PSS SACE plus additional questions. The degree to which carers’ satisfaction and quality of life scores differ from scores collected around 18 months before the start of this study will be examined. Factors associated with changes will be explored and subgroups of carers compared.

Sixty semi-structured telephone interviews will be conducted, including a subset of survey participants and ‘seldom heard’ carers recruited via community groups and informal networks, to provide further in-depth information about the services, support and other factors carers perceive as contributory to their satisfaction and quality of life over time.