Skip to content

Journal Article

Multiple role occupancy and social participation among midlife wives and husbands in the United Kingdom


Publication date



We investigated the relationship between intensive multiple role occupancy and one key dimension of well-being, social participation (i.e., frequency of participation in social and leisure activities and meeting friends or relatives). Moreover, we examined gender differences in the association between individual, spousal and couple intensive multiple role commitments and individual social participation. Our research is based on a sample of mid-life wives (45-59) and their husbands from the 2000 British Household Panel Study (BHPS). Our findings show that, among wives whose husbands were providing care to a dependent for 20 or more hours a week, there was a negative association with social and leisure activity participation, whereas husbands' level of participation in social and leisure activities was higher if their wives were in full-time paid work. We also found lower odds of meeting friends or relatives among wives and husbands in full-time employment, and higher odds of meeting friends and relatives among wives providing care for 20 or more hours a week. Our results will aid policy thinking in addressing how people can be best supported to balance work and family commitments in order to optimize different dimensions of well-being in later life and help alleviate the pressures associated with multiple-role occupancy in mid-life.

Published in

International Journal of Aging and Human Development


63 (1):27-47


Older People and Well Being



Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*


Research home

Research home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest