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Petra Ulmanen. Foto: Niklas Björling

Petra Ulmanen

Forskare

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Social Work
Telephone 08-16 32 42
Email petra.ulmanen@socarb.su.se
Visiting address Sveavägen 160, Sveaplan
Room 745
Postal address Institutionen för socialt arbete 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Petra Ulmanen, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Work, Stockholm University. Her research in the fields of social care and welfare state concerns family care for older persons, primarily filial care, and its consequences for caregivers, mainly regarding their working lives. She is currrently working in several research projects concerning family care for older people and how it is affected by the organization and performance of care services:

Petra also works in the research programme Individualised care and universal welfare: Dilemmas in an era of marketisation, financed by Forte.

Petra defended her doctoral thesis in 2015: The cost of caring the the Swedish welfare state. Feminist perspectives on family care for older people.

Petra Ulmanen has previously been working as a researcher, journalist and editor of cultural magazines. She took part in the set up of the Swedish feminist magazine Bang in the early 1990s, where she worked as editor. She worked at the National Board of Health and Welfare in a Government commission about the social services from a gender perspective. She was also appointed by the Swedish Government to work in the Inquiry on Gender Equality Policy.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Petra Ulmanen. Äldreomsorger i Sverige
  • 2017. Petra Ulmanen. Genus i omsorgens vardag, 111-126
  • 2017. Petra Ulmanen. Innovation and Sustainability, 3rd Transforming Care Conference, Milan, Italy, 26-28 June 2017

    The aim of this paper is to analyse the extent, content and consequences of family caregiving among middle-aged women and men in Sweden today. The analysis focuses on gender and level of education, using data on persons aged 45-66 years from a nationally representative postal survey (n=3630) conducted in 2013. Of the respondents, 28% are caregivers, defined as providing help at least once a week to a family member, relative or friend with a disability or longstanding illness. Almost 80% of the caregivers assist an older person (65+), most often a frail parent.

    This paper confirms previous research in that middle-aged women are more frequently caregivers, give more intensive care and are more frequently negatively affected by caregiving than middle-aged men. The gender difference in both the frequency and intensity of caregiving is however only found among highly educated persons, and the gender differences in the consequences of caregiving are more extensive in this group, especially regarding their work situation.

    The analysis focuses on educational differences among women and men, respectively. No educational differences were found among women or men in how common it is in the middle-aged population to be a caregiver. Female caregivers with higher education however give more intensive care, on average 7.9 hours a week compared to 4.9 hours a week among other female caregivers. Female caregivers with higher education are more negatively affected than other female caregivers on a number of outcomes concerning well-being, work situation and attachment to the labour market. These outcomes include difficulties to find time to see friends, mental strain, reduced ability to focus on the job, difficulties in keeping working hours, difficulties in managing to accomplish tasks and having to reduce working hours because of caregiving. No significant educational differences between female caregivers were however found in experiencing physical strain, being on sick leave for more than two weeks, having to quit the job or have retired earlier than planned due to caregiving.

    No educational differences were found among male caregivers in the intensity of care provided (around 5 hours a week on average). The only negative outcome that differs among male caregivers with different levels of level of education concerns mental strain; those with higher education more frequently experience mental strain due to caregiving.

    These results fill a knowledge gap in Swedish research on the extent and consequences of caregiving in middle age. Previous analyses of nationally representative surveys on socioeconomic differences among women and men in the extent and consequences of caregiving in Sweden are almost non-existing.

  • 2016. Petra Ulmanen. The sandwich generation, 242-261

    Having both children and aged parents with care needs while being in paid work is probably more frequent, but less problematic, in Sweden compared to most other welfare states. Although the average Swedish woman has almost two children during her lifetime and it is very common in mid-life to care for aged parents, women remain in paid work due to highly accessible publicly financed child- and eldercare services.

    The main focus in Scandinavian child- and eldercare policy is to make the individual’s welfare less dependent upon their possibilities to purchase care services at the market and to receive care from the family; ambitions described by the two concepts universalism and de-familization. This chapter examines the meaning of economic and social de-familization (economic and social autonomy) in two types of care relationships – parental childcare and filial care – as well as from two perspectives: the perspective of the person in need of care and the potential or actual caregiver.

    Care services, as well as payments for care and care leave, have increased for childcare and decreased for eldercare in Sweden during the last three decades. While the development of childcare services stands out as a success story resulting in nearly universal access, Sweden has transformed its formerly universalistic eldercare system into a more selective and familialistic one. The decline in eldercare services is contrary to law, national policy and the care preferences of older persons. Their right to autonomy and self-determination has been drastically curtailed.

  • 2015. Petra Ulmanen, Marta Szebehely. International Journal of Social Welfare 24 (1), 81-92

    This article analyses the changing roles of the state, family and market in providing care for older people in Sweden, in relation to Scandinavian welfare ideals of universalism and de-familisation. Since 2000 every fourth residential care bed has disappeared and the increase in homecare services has not compensated for the decline. Instead family care (defined here as help from adult children and other non-cohabiting family or friends) has increased in all social groups: help by daughters mainly among older people with shorter education and help by sons among those highly educated. Use of privately purchased services has also increased but continues to play a marginal role. Family care remains more common among older people with less education whereas privately purchased services are more common among those with higher education. This dualisation of care challenges universalism, and working-class daughters continue to be most affected by eldercare cutbacks.

  • 2015. Petra Ulmanen. Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift 22 (2), 111-132

    Women’s and men’s filial care: extent, content and consequences

    This paper analyses the extent, content and consequences of caregiving for elderly parents from agender and welfare state perspective using a nationally representative postal survey conducted in Sweden in 2013 (response rate 60.5 per cent, 3630 individuals, age 45–66 years). Negative consequencesof filial care on well-being, work situation and employment were examined. The analysisconfirms earlier research showing that filial care is common in Sweden but is less intense and hasfewer negative consequences than in less generous welfare states. A quarter of both women andmen gave filial care at least once a month, on average around 3.4 hours a week.Although men and women gave the same extent of filial care, it was more common amongwomen to give the more demanding personal care as well as to experience mental and physicalstrain, difficulties in finding time for leisure activities and reduced ability to focus on their job. Although women retired earlier than planned due to filial care more often than men, this was very rare. Men and women, however, suffered to the same extent from difficulties in managing to accomplish their tasks, to take part in meetings, courses and travels, as well as having to reducetheir working hours and quit their jobs. The content of care was crucial for the occurrence of negative consequences of caregiving, evenwhen the analysis controlled for hours of care given. The more demanding the care tasks performed,the more common it was among both men and women that their well-being and worksituation were affected. The correlation between care tasks and negative impact, however, differedbetween genders. The impact of managerial care was much higher for women than for men,which is discussed in relation to the decline of eldercare services and the lack of coordination of health and eldercare services.

  • 2015. Petra Ulmanen (et al.).

    This thesis examines the extent of family care for older people, primarily filial care, and the costs of caring in the Swedish welfare state. Costs of caring are understood as the negative effects of caregiving, primarily on the caregivers’ working life. The analysis is inspired by feminist theories on the importance of welfare state provisions for care for women’s citizenship, including personal autonomy and economic independence.

    The main aims of this thesis are twofold. The first is to explore the extent and development of family care for older persons in Sweden, primarily filial care, and the consequences of caregiving for well-being and working life. The second is to explore how older persons’ family members have been represented and the possible consequences of these representations for the development of publicly financed eldercare services and other forms of support for family carers, as well as for family members’ living conditions.

    The thesis consists of four studies. The first reviews the literature concerning the extent and consequences of family caregiving for older persons and the welfare state’s policy responses to older people’s care needs. The second study analyses how older persons’ family members and their role in eldercare have been represented in Swedish eldercare policy since the 1950s. The third study analyses surveys to explore changes during the 2000s in the role of the family, the public sector and the market in providing care for older persons in Sweden. The fourth study is a survey analysis of the extent, content and consequences of filial care among middle-aged women and men in Sweden in 2013.

    The policy analysis found that the expansion of eldercare was motivated solely in relation to older persons’ needs; thus working daughters’ needs of eldercare have been a blind spot in Swedish eldercare policy.

    Since 2000, every fourth residential care bed has disappeared and the increase in homecare services did not fully compensate for the decline, resulting in a significant increase in filial care in all social groups, and among both sons and daughters. Daughters of older persons with shorter education, however, remained the primary providers of filial care.

    Both daughters and sons are affected by caregiving. They suffer to the same extent from difficulties in managing to accomplish their work tasks and taking part in meetings, courses and travels. They are also equally likely to reduce their working hours and to quit their job. It is however clearly more common that daughters experience mental and physical strain, difficulties in finding time for leisure and reduced ability to focus on their job. Although more daughters than sons retire earlier than planned due to filial care, this is very rare.

    Managerial care (handling contacts with health and eldercare services) has a more salient role in a welfare state such as Sweden, with generously provided care services, less intense filial care and high employment rates among both sexes. The high labour force participation however makes middle aged children more vulnerable when their parents’ care arrangement does not work. The decline in eldercare services since 1980 has reinforced co-ordination problems in health and eldercare services. The managerial care required to handle this development, while living up to the demands of work and family life, stands out as especially demanding for the well-being and working lives of daughters.

  • 2015. Petra Ulmanen. Aftonbladet (29 oktober)
  • 2014. Marta Szebehely, Petra Ulmanen, Ann-Britt Sand.
  • 2014. Marta Szebehely, Petra Ulmanen, Ann-Britt Sand. Dagens samhälle (7 januari)
  • 2013. Petra Ulmanen.

    Starting with the ideals of universalism and de-familisation, this article analyses the role of the state, the family and the market as providers of care for older people in different social groups in Sweden in the 2000s. The analysis is based on data from the Swedish Living Conditions Surveys for the years 2002–2003 and 2009–2010, with a total of 1,805 individuals in need of practical help aged 65 years and older.

    In the 2000s the number of beds in residential care was reduced by one fourth, thus increasing family care considerably in all social groups. However, there was an interaction between class and gender. The help given by daughters increased primarily among older people with lower levels of education while the help given by sons increased primarily among those with higher education, making the help given by sons and daughters equally common in this latter group.

    Stimulated by the introduction of a tax deduction on household services and personal care in 2007, privately purchased services also increased. These services, however, still play a marginal role, in particular for older people with lower levels of education. A class-related pattern remains in that family care is more common among older people with less education whereas privately purchased services are more common among those with higher education. Thus, even if there is a trend of re-familisation in all social groups, the dualisation of care challenging universalism remains, and working class daughters are still the most affected by the cutbacks.

  • 2013. Petra Ulmanen. Social Politics 20 (1), 65-87

    Care services help women who are mothers or daughters to combine caregiving and gainful employment. While Swedish childcare policy expanded services to meet the needs of children and working mothers, this discourse analysis of Swedish eldercare policy shows that the expansion of eldercare services from the 1950s to the end of 1970s was justified solely on the basis of older people's needs. The lack of connection in policy documents between the needs of working daughters and the provision of eldercare services made it easier to cut services beginning in the 1980s, without considering the consequences for family members.

  • 2012. Petra Ulmanen.

    Eldercare services are a crucial part of the Nordic welfare model. In Sweden, public eldercare services have decreased since the 1980s, at the same time as informal care and private services bought in the market have increased. The Swedish eldercare system has moved away from its de-familialising potential and the principle of universialism, towards a partially familialistic and selective system. Informal care, in particular care provided by daughters, has increased mainly among older people with fewer resources. Although few older people buy private care services in the market, such purchases have increased among well-off groups of older people since the 1980s.

    This paper analyses sources of care among older people in Sweden from 1988 to 2010, using data from the Living Conditions Survey (ULF) by Statistics Sweden. The focus of the analysis is on how different social groups of older people have been affected by the decrease in eldercare services as well as by the increase in informal care and privately purchased services. The analysis concerns social class, gender and country of origin. The paper discusses the consequences for older people and their children of these shifting boundaries of care from the perspective of the Nordic welfare model’s strive for equality.

  • 2012. Petra Ulmanen. Ålder & arbete
  • 2012. Marta Szebehely, Petra Ulmanen.

    Rapporten undersöker hur den svenska äldreomsorgen har förändrats över tid. Hur har förändringarna påverkat de äldre, och hur har de påverkat deras anhörigas förvärvsarbete? Vi bygger på nya analyser av SCB:s stora intervjustudier av befolkningens levnadsförhållanden (ULF), samt tidigare svensk och internationell forskning. Vi jämför förändringarna under 1980- och 1990-talen med förändringarna under 2000-talet.

  • 2009. Petra Ulmanen. Genus i omsorgens vardag, 117-133
  • 2009. Marta Szebehely, Petra Ulmanen.
  • 2009. Petra Ulmanen. Äldreomsorg (3)

    Äldreomsorgen och barnomsorgen har samma funktion: att göra det möjligt för framförallt kvinnor att försörja sig genom eget förvärvsarbete. Men tillgången och kvaliteten på omsorgstjänsterna behöver förbättras och rätten att "vaffa" borde införas.

  • 2008. Petra Ulmanen. Socialqrage: en tidning från SKTF (1)
  • 2008. Petra Ulmanen.

    The starting point of this paper is that widely available elder care services of good quality are seen as an essential support for family carers, which has made it possible especially for daughters of frail older people to combine family care and paid labour.

    The aim of the paper is to analyze problem representations and outcomes of Swedish elder care policy concerning the next-of-kin of older people. How are next-of-kin and their role in elder care described in policy documents? And what outcomes (in terms of policy proposals as well as coverage of care services and payments for family care) are associated with different descriptions? The materials analyzed are Government Bills on eldercare from 1957 to 2006.

    The analysis indicates that it has been uncommon in Swedish elder care policy to regard public elder care services as important for next-of-kin. During the expansion period (1950s to 1970s) of the public care services, their needs were hardly mentioned. The expansion was motivated only in relation to the needs of older people. From the 1980s onward, the Government has stressed the need of public support for family carers and has taken several measures to improve their situation. However, public elder care services as well as financial support to family carers have decreased during the same period, and it was still uncommon to regard public care as a form of support for family carers.  

  • 2008. Marta Szebehely, Petra Ulmanen. Välfärd: SCB:s tidskrift om arbetsliv, demografi och välfärd (2), 12-14
  • 2008. Petra Ulmanen.

    Sedan slutet av 1990-talet har det runt om i landet blivit allt vanligare med olika former av anhörigstöd. Målgruppen för kommunernas stödär framförallt äldre personer som vårdar sin make eller maka. I denna artikel beskriver Petra Ulmanen hur situationen kan te sig för de äldres döttrar i rollen som anhöriga. Hon diskuterar också – utifrån ett jämställdhetsperspektiv– hur denna grupp anhöriga skulle kunna stödjas. Petra Ulmanen har varit sekreterare i utredningen Makt att forma samhälletoch sitt eget liv – jämställdhetspolitiken mot nya mål, och är nu verksam som doktorand vid Socialhögskolan i Stockholm.

  • 2007. Petra Ulmanen. Göteborgs-Posten (15 september)
  • 2007. Petra Ulmanen. Civilekonomen: tidning för Civilekonomernas riksförbund (9)
  • 2007. Petra Ulmanen. Ordfront magasin (9)
  • 2007. Petra Ulmanen, Marta Szebehely. Expressen (30 maj)

    Pressen att vårda sina gamla föräldrar har ökat bland döttrarna till lågutbildade äldre. Våra nya beräkningar visar att närmare 60 000 kvinnor i dag har gått ner till deltid eller lämnat sitt förvärvsarbete helt för att kunna vårda gamla eller sjuka anhöriga. Välbärgade medelålders kvinnor kan med det nya skatteavdraget köpa billig hushållshjälp till sina föräldrar. Det kan inte arbetarklassen. Nya avdragen för hushållsnäratjänster gynnar då jämställdheten bara för de rika. Det skriver i dag professor MARTA SZEBEHELY och doktorand PETRA ULMANEN vid Institutionen för socialt arbete, Stockholms universitet.

Show all publications by Petra Ulmanen at Stockholm University

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Last updated: September 5, 2018

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