How to understand diversity in citizens’ care attitudes: an exploratory study in the Netherlands

Yvette Wittenberg, Alice H. de Boer, Mirjam M. Y. de Klerk, Arnoud P. Verhoeff, Rick Kwekkeboom

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The aim of this study is to investigate Dutch citizens’ care attitudes by looking at care-giving norms and citizens’ welfare state orientation and to explore to what extent these attitudes can be explained by combinations of diversity characteristics. We combined two datasets (2016 and 2018, N = 5,293) containing citizens’ opinions regarding society and conducted multivariate linear and ordered probit regression analyses. An intersectional perspective was adopted to explore the influence of combinations of diversity characteristics. Results show that citizens’ care-giving norms are relatively strong, meaning they believe persons in need of care should receive help from their families or social networks. However, citizens consider the government responsible for care as well. Men, younger people, people in good health and people of non-Western origin have stronger care-giving norms than others, and younger people assign relatively more responsibility to the family than the government. Level of education and religiosity are also associated with care attitudes. Primary diversity dimensions are more related to care attitudes than secondary, circumstantial dimensions. Some of the secondary dimensions interact with primary dimensions. These insights offer policy makers, social workers and (allied) health professionals the opportunity to align with citizens’ care attitudes, as results show that people vary to a large extent in their care-giving norms and welfare state orientation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalAgeing & Society
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2021


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