It has been suggested that adding elder care tothe list of women's multiple roles may significantlyjeopardize their well-being and mental health. Thisstudy explored the experiences with multiple roles among Jewish women who immigrated to Israelfrom the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s withtheir extended families. The thirty informants for thestudy (aged between 35 and 55) represented a variety of pre-emigration backgrounds. Their commondenominator was in multiple roles (employment andcaregiving to both children and ageing parents) coupledwith the challenges of resettlement in a country swept by the mass influx of immigrants. Facingdownward social mobility, marital distress, and problemswith adolescent children, the women of this“sandwich” generation also had to supporttheir uprooted parents. The growing dependency and declininghealth of the elders significantly burdened the womenand hindered their occupational upgrading and socialintegration in Israel. Exhaustion and tight time budgets led to somatization and poor self-careamong middle-aged women. Social services' role in eldercare was minimal. The informants' social networks weremainly co-ethnic, and their coping tools drew on Israeli-Russian subculture. The studyconcludes that, even in the relatively egalitarianRussian-Soviet gender system, women function asprincipal caregivers, often at the expense of other lifegoals.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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