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Prof. Dr. Heinz RothgangProf. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
Heinz Rothgang member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Center of Gerontology.

One of the mostly overlooked benefits of research centers at universities is their ability to consult and advise political or politics-related institutions. Via this consultation recent research finds its way directly into policy making or administration. Heinz Rothgang, Professor of Health Economics at SOCIUM, recently was appointed member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Center of Gerontology for the next four years.

The German Center of Gerontology is one of the so called Ressortforschungseinrichtungen (ministerial research facilities) of the federal government and is part of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. It focuses on three core activities: collection and public dissemination of important data on demography and gerontology, research on gerontological questions and especially consulting of the Ministry and the Federal Government on demographical change and policies concerning senior citizens. This entails a broad spectrum of issues from work and pension, health, care, family situations, social relations as well as social participation of senior citizens.

The Scientific Advisory Board of the German center of Gerontology consists of nine professors mostly from social scientific faculties. They consult the Center and participate in guiding its research.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

From left to right: Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier, Anja Stahmann.From left to right: Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier, Anja Stahmann.
Minister of Social Affairs and SOCIUM intensify cooperation.

Shortly before Christmas, the Minister of Social Affairs, Youth, Women, Integration and Sport of the state of Bremen, Anja Stahmann, and the Speaker of SOCIUM, Frank Nullmeier, signed a cooperation agreement which establishes a new foundation for the cooperation of the state administration and the research center. The agreement entails not only regular meetings but also research projects directly intended to profit daily politics and administrative practice.

The cooperation agreement also entails the support of the teaching curriculum of the University of Bremen by offering internships in the administration, advanced training of administrative staff by the experts of the SOCIUM, cooperation on public events and consulting based on social scientific research on welfare state policies. A core aspect of the agreement features a mutual exchange of information on existing data sets. As far as on data protection grounds legally possible these data sets will be used in research projects on social policy and inequality studies in order to improve the evidence based policies and implementation approaches of social policies in the state of Bremen.

The signing of the agreement commenced on December 19th, 2018 at the Ministry of Social Affairs of Bremen. In the small celebration participated the Minister, Anja Strahman, the State Secretary, Jan Fries, the Team of speakers of SOCIUM, Frank Nullmeier and Betina Hollstein as well as the director of the department on health, long-term care and pensions, Heinz Rothgang.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576
E-Mail: frank.nullmeier@uni-bremen.de

German Research Foundation supports establishment of a division for anthropological research data

The grant is part of the Specialised Information Service Social and Cultural Anthropology (FID SKA), managed by the University Library of the Humboldt Universitaet Berlin and QUALISERVICE at Bremen University. One of the aims of FID SKA is to establish QUALISERVICE as a repository also for qualitative ethnographic research data such as audio and video data, field notes and observation protocols offering an adequate solution for the complex archiving requirements of the sometimes highly sensitive research data throughout Germany. Thus, researchers will obtain a reliable source to archive and request ethnological research data for secondary use in research and teaching.

Since 2018 the German Research Foundation (DFG) supports the implementation of QUALISERVICE as a national data service center for social science qualitative research data. Previously QUALISERVICE focused on qualitative interview data. With the new grant the scope will cover the full range of qualitative social science research data.

QUALISERVICE is located at SOCIUM and is headed by Prof. Dr. Betina Hollstein. Archiving is organized together with PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science and the State and University Library Bremen (SuUB). Besides, a coordinated archiving and representation of mixed methods studies will be created together with GESIS – Leibniz Institut für Sozialwissenschaften.

More information:
Specialised Information Service Social and Cultural Anthropology


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Betina Hollstein
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58512
E-Mail: betina.hollstein@uni-bremen.de

Cover Cover "Longer better living."-Book (in German)
Prevention recommendations implemented in everyday life.

The EPIC study, a long-term 13-year study of 20,000 participants in Norfolk, which showed the positive effects of four different health behaviors, forms the basis of this publication. Sufficient exercise, abstinence from smoking, five servings of vegetables and fruit per day, and limited alcohol consumption resulted in a life-time gain of up to 14 years. In order to facilitate the implementation of these rules in everyday life instructions, tips and evidence-based expert advice have been compiled here (in German).

Prof. Dr. Gerd Glaeske and Friederike Höfel from the "Longer better living."-Institute, which is dedicated to the implementation of these prevention goals, published this book together with Friedrich Schütte and Jörg Nielaczny of the BKK24.

More information about publication: Glaeske, Gerd; Höfel, Friederike; Schütte, Friedrich; Nielaczny, Jörg (Ed.), 2019: "Länger besser leben." Für eine bessere Gesundheit und mehr Wohlbefinden, "Länger besser leben."-Institut, BKK24, Bremen, Obernkirchen: Selbstverlag


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Gerd Glaeske
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58559
E-Mail: gglaeske@uni-bremen.de

Dipl.-Soz. Friederike Höfel
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58520
E-Mail: fhoefel@uni-bremen.de

Lara MinkusLara Minkus
Result of a Study Coauthored by the Sociologist Lara Minkus of SOCIUM together with to Colleagues from Florence and Magdeburg.

The study asks if and how the public support of the European Union among Europeans has been changed by the election of Donald Trump. The result: The Europeans have a more positive opinion on the EU - and interestingly enough mostly people who consider themselves on the political right. In order to be able to tackle this attitudinal dynamic the authors of the study used the fact that by chance the US presidential elections took place right in the middle of a polling for the Eurobarometer. Eurobarometer is the instrument with which the European Commission regularly polls the public opinion of the EU citizens. This happened also in November 2016. Approximately half of the interviews were conducted prior to the US elections, the other half afterwards. "Because the election of Trump was such a surprise and the date of the interviews prior or after the elections was randomly assigned to the persons and did not correspond to any political opinions of the people interviewed the situation in 2016 approximated a so called natural experiment" says author Lara Minkus. Together with the sociologist Emanuel Deutschmann (European University Institute, Florence) and Jan Delhey, Professor of Macrosociology at the University of Magdeburg Ms Minkus concluded that and change in support for the EU after the US Election must be a "Trump effect".

More support for the EU on the political right

After the election of Trump the EU gets more support from its citizens. But this increase in support shows an unequal distribution if one correlates it with political orientation. It becomes obvious that this Trump effect is especially measurable on the right side of the political spectrum. The political support for the EU also increase in the center and the left side of the political spectrum. But this increase is still in the margin of statistical error. The question of what motivates especially people on the political right to increase their support is open to speculation. The most plausible answer might be the idea that the US elections arouse the hopes that the EU could finally be transferred into some kind of "Europe of the Nations" which would isolate itself against the outside and follow a more protectionist power perspective, says Lara Minkus. "Whether this 'Trump effect' on the right wing was only a short term issue or leads to long term change will be seen after the elections of the European Parliament in May of next year."

More information:
Minkus, Lara; Deutschmann, Emanuel; Delhey, Jan, 2019: A Trump Effect on the EU’s Popularity? The U.S. Presidential Election as a Natural Experiment, in: Perspectives on Politics, online-first, S. 1 - 18, doi:10.1017/S1537592718003262


Contact:
Lara Minkus
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58536
E-Mail: lminkus@uni-bremen.de

Cover Long-Term Care ReportCover Long-Term Care Report
Authors from the SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, University of Bremen, presents BARMER Long-Term Care Report 2018.

This year’s BARMER Long-Term Care Report was presented today at the Conference Centre of the Federal Press Conference Building. Its main focus this year lay on the pressures and health status of principal caregivers; but the Report also examined the effects of the most recent long-term care reforms on the provision of long-term care. The authors, Professor Dr. Heinz Rothgang and Dr. Rolf Müller, also made in-depth evaluations of case numbers, incidences, prevalences and care trajectories. The primary data basis comprised long-term care statistics for 2015, routine data provided by the BARMER and a survey of 1,862 BARMER insurees conducted especially for this Report.

Care Grades instead of Care Levels Led to Increase in the Number of People Receiving Long-Term Care Benefits

The switch from care levels to care grades as of 1 January 2017 brought with it changes in the criteria determining rights of access to insurance benefits. Cognitive disabilities are now defined as a constituent of the eligibility rulesfor  insurance benefits, and respective access barriers have been reduced. The switch from care levels to care grades has also led to a significant increase in favourable assessments. According to projections based on BARMER figures, the number of long-term care dependents increased by 17.9 % between 2015 and 2017. Around 13 percentage points are attributable to the increase in Care Levels 1 and 2.

Broadened Entitlements mean Higher Costs

The increased social long-term care insurance expenditure resulting from the reform amounted to around 7 billion Euros in 2017. On the other hand, additional revenues from the reform amounted to 2.8 billion Euros, leaving a reform-related deficit of 4.2 bn. Thanks to the prior revenue surplus and income growth, however, the actual deficit in 2017 only amounted to 2.4 bn. Euros.

Most Long-Term Care Dependents are Cared for by Relatives

In December 2017, about 2.5 m. people in need of care were cared for by a principal caregiver. Two thirds of these principal caregivers were women, one third were men. Only one third of the principal caregivers taking part in the BARMER survey in 2018 were in gainful employment. A quarter, however, stated that they had reduced their hours or given up gainful employment completely to provide care.

Formal and Informal Support is often Inadequate

As a rule, the principal caregiver has to carry out numerous tasks (e.g. apply medication, give assistance at mealtimes, give mobility support or toilet assistance). Six out of ten principal caregives would like further support in at least one of eleven areas of responsibility. In addition to this general deficit, there are problems when it comes to finding substitutes. Significantly more than half of respondents have no opportunity to find anyone who will stand in for them when they need a break.

Frequently, caregivers do not avail of services offered because they are too expensive or suspected of being poor quality, because there are no services available, or because the organisational effort is too high. It becomes apparent that the needs of caregivers cannot be fulfilled because of the structure of the services offered or because they require too much effort. This is the case for around 378,000 principal caregivers (15.3 %) in daycare, 188,000 (7.6 %) in care services, 437,000 (17.7 %) in short-term care and 379,000 principal caregivers (15.3 %) in low-threshold care and domestic help.

Principal Caregivers are Often Subject to Greater Stress and Fall Ill More Frequently

In terms of coping, 87.5% of principal caregivers claim that they can cope most or all of the time. Nevertheless, a large percentage (38.0 %) do not get enough sleep; 29.9% feel trapped in their role as principal caregiver; one in five (20.4 %) often find carework too strenuous; 22.7% of caregivers find that long-term care has a negative effect on friendships, and one in five (18.8%) has existential anxiety or fear of the future.

Caregiving relatives not only suffer from higher morbidity, they also suffer greater morbidity through their carework. At 48.7% in December 2017, the prevalence of mental illness among principal caregivers is very high. In a comparative population in terms of age structure and gender, only 42.5 % of non-caregivers is similarly diagnosed. Morbidity among principal carers has increased by 9.1 percent points over the last five years and only 5.7 percent points in the comparative group.

Future Scenarios for Principal Caregivers

Projections from the survey of BARMER insurees in 2018 suggest that in total at least 185,000 principal caregivers are on the verge of giving up long-term carework. In addition, over a million principal caregivers only want to continue providing long-term care as long as the situation prevailing at the time of the survey does not change. As, the care situation does tend to deteriorate over time, however, it cannot be assumed that this group of carers will continue to provide long-term care. All in all, then, the situation is quite alarming.

Principal caregivers would like less red tape when submitting applications, would like to be able to always contact the same expert on specific matters, would like to be better informed about long-term care insurance benefits and services and about where help can be sought. It is of prime importance to people in need of care to know where they can get help. Clearly, there is a need for the central actors in long-term care and in politics to redress the situation.

Download (in German):
BARMER Long-Term Care Report 2018
Statement by Professor Rothgang for the Press Conference 
Presentation by Professor Rothgang for the Press Conference


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Dr. rer. pol. Rolf Müller
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58554
E-Mail: rmint@uni-bremen.de