Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Ellen Page-Robin

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas VanValey

Fourth Advisor

Dr. C. Dennis Simpson


Since women are the majority of caregivers to older and/or disabled relatives, the increasing number of women in the labor force has meant that more caregivers are also employed. In an effort to expand our understanding of the perils and benefits of women's caregiving roles, the present study examines the impact of women's traditional caregiving roles on their paid labor force participation throughout their lives. This qualitative study involved semistructured, in-depth interviews with sixteen women (i.e., six in their 50s, four in their 60s, and six women in their 70s), to answer the question, "how do family caregiving roles cumulatively and specifically impact women's paid labor force participation throughout their life course?"

This study found similarities in terms of age, family history, labor force participation, and caregiving experiences among its participants. Women's traditional caregiving roles within the family influenced the participant's caregiving experiences. Most saw women in their families care for others, and they grew up believing that caring for their family members was their job. Interestingly, most of these women did not really see themselves as caregivers, but as mothers, daughters, and wives who had fulfilled their duties within those roles.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access