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Women’s sleep in Italy: The influence of caregiving roles

Bianchera, E and Arber, S (2008) Women’s sleep in Italy: The influence of caregiving roles In: Worlds of Sleep: Investigations into the Dormant Third of our Lives. Frank & Timme, Berlin, pp. 131-151. ISBN 3865961738

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This chapter examines sleep of women in Northern Italy. In depth qualitative interviews with 40 women aged between 40 and 80 years enabled examination of the intimate aspects of sleep and how these are related to the social and family context of Italian women. The aim of this chapter is to examine the meanings that Italian women attach to sleep, and their perceptions of one of the key factors that influence their sleep. The dominant theme that emerged from the interviews as influencing women’s sleep was their care-giving roles, although the interview guide was not specifically designed to examine care-giving. For this reason, the chapter focuses on how Italian women’s care-giving roles shape their sleep patterns and definitions of their sleep quality. Italy provides an important case study for examining the ways that care-giving roles structure women’s sleep because of the fragmented welfare provision for both childcare and eldercare. The particular intensity of family connections in Italy and close intergenerational exchanges of informal care puts into sharp relief how caring delineates the extent and continuity of women’s sleep, highlighting how family roles and relationships interact and intersect with sleep. The chapter first provides a brief review of research on women’s sleep, which hitherto has primarily focused on sleep in the UK. We then provide a review of care provision, family culture and the Italian welfare state. After outlining our methodological approach, we present data on women’s understandings and meanings of sleep, before examining how Italian women’s care-giving roles impact on their sleep at various stages through their life course.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 2008
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 11 Jul 2013 13:28
Last Modified : 23 Sep 2013 20:09

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