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ERIC Number: EJ774998
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug
Pages: 12
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-0016-9013
Taking "Women's Work" "Like a Man": Husbands' Experiences of Care Work
Calasanti, Toni; King, Neal
Gerontologist, v47 n4 p516-527 Aug 2007
Purpose: We adopted a feminist, structural approach to husbands' experiences of caring for wives with Alzheimer's disease. This framework posited that men and women draw upon gender repertoires--situational ideals of behavior based upon their respective structural locations--that create gendered experiences of stress and coping strategies. Design and Methods: We used a qualitative, constructivist approach to analyze in-depth interviews with 22 spousal caregivers and observations within support groups. Our analysis focused on the nine husbands, the strategies these men reported using to deal with problems that arose in their care work, and the extent to which these are congruent with the masculinities of White men in the United States. Results: We found that these husbands' approaches to caregiving and their strategies for dealing with the work and feelings involved were rooted in their sense of selves as men. We outline their overall approaches to caregiving, identify six strategies husbands used to deal with problems stemming from care work--exerting force, focusing on tasks, blocking emotions, minimizing disruption, distracting attention, and self-medicating--and tie these to their structural positions as working-, middle-, and professional-class men. Implications: Theories of gender differences in the performance or quality of care work should tie these to structural arrangements. Unless the gendered bases upon which different styles or experiences are removed (i.e., structural inequality), designers of interventions cannot and should not expect to use the experience of one group to inform appropriate strategies for the other. (Contains 1 table.)
Gerontological Society of America. 1030 15th Street NW Suite 250, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-842-1275; Fax: 202-842-1150; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States