The Scientific Study of People Who Are Single:
An Annotated Bibliography

Bella M. DePaulo
Chair, Academic Advisory Board of the Spectrum Institute
Research and Policy Division of the
American Association for Single People (AASP)

January 2, 2004


10. Caregiving, Volunteering, and Issues of Individualism and Community

The study of caregiving has typically focused on caring for children. But there are many others in need of care, too, including the growing population of elderly people, and the seriously ill and disabled. Who does this care work? Gender differences are well known, but are there civil status differences as well? How does the work of caregiving change the lives of the people who do it? Who does informal and formal volunteer work? Is American society becoming more individualistic and less committed to community? It may seem intuitive that as the number of singles increases, so too does individualism. But is that really so? It is possible that singles differ from people who are coupled in that they do not orient so exclusively to just one other adult; if instead, singles maintain larger or more diverse networks, or maintain their ties with others more consistently, then perhaps the intuitive conclusion is not quite true.

Albert, S. M. (1990). Caregiving as a cultural system: Conceptions of filial obligation and parental dependency in urban America. American Anthropologist, 92, 319-331.

Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (1985). Habits of the heart: Individualism and commitment in American life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Brickman, P. (1987). Commitment, conflict, and caring. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Burnley, C. S. (1987). Caregiving: The impact on emotional support for single women. Journal of Aging Studies, 1, 253-264.

Coleman, B., & Pandya, S. M. (2002). Family caregiving and long-term care. AARP Public Policy Institute. Http://

Fineman, M. A. (1995). The neutered mother, the sexual family and other twentieth century tragedies. NY: Routledge.

Folbre, N. (1994). Who pays for the kids? Gender and the structures of constraint. NY: Routledge.

Folbre, N. (2001). The invisible heart: Economics and family values. NY: The New Press.

Fox, G. L., & Murry, V. M. (2000). Gender and families: Feminist perspectives and family research. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 1160-1172.

Friedman, M. (1993). What are friends for? Feminist perspectives on personal relationships and moral theory. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. (Chapter 4. Care and context in moral reasoning.)

Gallagher, S. K., & Gerstel, N. (2001). Connections and constraints: The effects of children on caregiving. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 265-275.

Gaugler, J. E., & Kane, R. A. (2001). Informal help in the assisted living setting: A 1-year analysis. Family Relations, 50, 335-347.

Goldscheider, F. K., Thornton, A., & Yang, L. (2001). Helping out the kids: Expectations about parental support in young adulthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 727-740.

Sauer, W. J., & Coward, R. T. (Eds.), Social support networks and the care of the elderly: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 67-92). New York: Springer. (Chapter 5. Cicirelli: The role of siblings as caregivers.)

Hewlett, S. A. (1991). When the bough breaks: The cost of neglecting our children. NY: Basic Books.

Hochschild, A. (2000). The nanny chain. The American Prospect, 11, January 3.

Ingersoll-Dayton, B., Neal, M. B., Ha, J., & Hammer, L. B. (2003). Redressing inequity in parent care among siblings. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 201-212.

Kramer, B. J., & Thompson, E. J. Jr. (2001). Men as caregivers: Theory, research, and service implications. NY: Springer.

Magdol, L., & Bessel, D. R. (2003). Social capital, social currency, and portable assets: The impact of residential mobility on exchanges of social support. Personal Relationships, 10, 149-169.

Martini, T. S., Grusec, J. E., & Bernardini, S. C. (2001). Effects of interpersonal control, perspective taking, and attributions on older mothers’ and adult daughters’ satisfaction with their helping relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 15, 688-705.

Piercy, K. W., & Chapman, J. G. (2001). Adopting the caregiver role: A family legacy. Family Relations, 50, 386-393.

Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. NY: Simon & Schuster.

Riesman, D. (1950). The lonely crowd: A study of the changing American character. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Taylor, S. E. (2002). The tending instinct: How nurturing is essential for who we are and how we live. NY: Times Books.

Twenge, J. M. (2000). The age of anxiety? Birth cohort change in anxiety and neuroticism, 1952-1993. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 1007-1021.

Twenge, J. M. (2002). Birth cohort, social change, and personality: The interplay of dysphoria and individualism in the 20th century. In D. Cervone & W. Mischel (Eds.), Advances in personality science (pp. 196-218). NY: Guilford.

White, L., & Peterson, D. (1995). The retreat from marriage: Its effect on unmarried children’s exchange with parents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 428-434.

Wilson, J., & Musick, M. (1997). Who cares? Toward an integrated theory of volunteer work. American Sociological Review, 62, 694-713.

Ybema, J. F., Kuijer, R. G., Hagedoorn, M., & Buunk, B. P. (2002). Caregiver burnout among intimate partners of patients with a severe illness: An equity perspective. Personal Relationships, 9, 73-88.

Website with data about volunteering:

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