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Women in the Sandwich Generation: The Relationship Between Health Behaviours and Wellbeing
Authors: Megan Godwin (Queensland University of Technology), Rebekah Russell-Bennett (Queensland University of Technology, Australia), Uwe Dulleck (Queensland University of Technology)
A key outcome of transformative service research (TSR) is achieving citizen and social wellbeing (Anderson et al. 2013). Behavioural scientists seek to understand human lived experiences and their subjective wellbeing (Diener, Oishi & Tay, 2018). The modern concept of wellbeing is fluid and develops around economic, political and social structure changes. A key segment in many developed countries that is suffering low wellbeing are 35-55 year old women (Generation X) or ‘The Sandwich Generation’ (squeezed between teen children and ageing parents). In the 1980’s these women heard the catch cry of “You can have it all!” however this contrasts with their lived experience of a decline in wellbeing health behaviours and the creeping consumption of alcohol (mummy wine time), less physical activity, poor diet and poor sleep. There are multiple health behaviours that are monitored by the Australian Government as indicators of health wellbeing across different population groups, such as substance use, physical activity, tobacco and obesity (AIHW, 2018). Alternative surveys (Jean Hailes Women’s Health, Australian Women’s Longitudinal Health Survey) highlight another pertinent health issue of sleep. Typically, the behaviours addressed in both TSR and at a policy level are considered separately in both analysis and interventions. However given the evidence that these behaviours appear to be related there is need to investigate the empirical relationship between these behaviours and wellbeing. Currently we do not know about the inter-relationship between these behaviours. For instance, do some behaviours cluster together to affect wellbeing or are they separate? The decline in women’s wellbeing behaviours is not constant, some women have high wellbeing indicating they are coping with life’s stressors while others have low wellbeing (they are cracking at life stressors). However as we do not know which of these wellbeing behaviours is related to high and low levels of wellbeing it is difficult to design transformative services aimed at improving women’s wellbeing. This research combines services marketing with behavioural economics to answer the research questions of RQ1: What is the relationship between health behaviours and wellbeing for Gen X women? and RQ2: Which health behaviours are associated with high (coping) and low (cracking) levels of wellbeing. The method for this research is analysis of up to 10,000 Australian women from the Housing, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey (Melbourne Institute). The HILDA survey is a household panel data set that begun in 2001 and contains subjective wellbeing (e.g. health, QOL) and objective wellbeing (e.g. perceived financial prosperity, education status) measures. The results of this analysis will be presented at the conference. This research will provide a useful base about the relationships of health behaviours and wellbeing.