Those who care for both sick, disabled or older relatives and dependent children are more likely to report symptoms of mental ill-health, feel less satisfied with life and struggle financially compared to the general population, the ONS research said.
It estimates that around 3% of the UK general population have twin caring duties, which amounts more than 1.3m people, and these people are more likely to experience conditions such as anxiety and depression than those who do not (22%).
The report also found higher levels of mental-ill health among those who do more hours caring, with more than 33% of sandwich carers providing at least 20 hours of adult care per week reporting symptoms compared with 23% of those providing fewer than five hours each week.
Those providing fewer than five hours of adult care each week report slightly higher levels of life and health satisfaction (76%) when compared to the general population (74%), however this could be explained by demographic differences – 72% of the sandwich generation are aged between 35 and 54 years, while 62% are women, whereas among the general population 38% are aged 35 to 54 years and 51% are women.
Carer givers spending more than five hours a week providing adult care report lower levels of health and life satisfaction than the general population, with those providing between 10 and 19 hours of adult care per week least satisfied, even compared to those giving at least 20 hours a week.
The report suggested this could be because 69% of carers in the 10-19 hour category are either employed or self-employed compared with 41% of those provide at least 20 hours a week (six out of 10 are out of work).