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PhD at the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies

  • Supervised by Professor Jan Oyebode, Dr Liz Breen and Dr Catherine Quinn
  • Project title: Perceptions and experiences of caregivers of older relatives in mainland China- A multigenerational study.
  • Start date: June 2019
Oladayo Bifarin, PhD student at the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies

A brief background

A registered nurse within the UK National Health Service and an early researcher in the field of gerontology, his research interests focus on the process of caregiving and coping mechanisms, and how these are influenced by factors such as culture, preparedness, and the meanings family caregivers attach to their roles. Oladayo is equally interested in the process of professional socialisation in nursing and nurse education. He is a member of INTEDEM and International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) Young Researchers Network.

What was your motivation for pursuing a PhD and for researching your particular topic?

"As an undergraduate student in Nigeria, I found the act of balancing my studies and extra-curricular activities with the care for my grandmother, who lived with long term health multi-morbidities, very tough. I also witnessed the strain caregiving inflicted on relationships within the family, primarily because of lack of adequate resources which meant that my grandmother’s needs were sometimes trivialised unintendedly.

"Dearth of gerontology expertise and services meant relatives were left on a journey with no direction, which in turn contributed to stigmatising attitudes, blaming culture and avoidance coping styles. This experience motivated me to study mental health nursing in the UK and my convictions around discrimination of older people, as well as the oversimplification of what caregivers do to support older relatives, made my current doctorate project appealing to me."

Aims of my study

This is a multi-generational study comprising of three small homogenous sub-samples namely: children affected by One Child Policy, parents affected by One Child Policy and caregivers who are in employment. The aims are:

  • to understand the views and experiences of participants with caring responsibilities for older relatives in China;
  • to explore the preparedness of participants with regards to their potential/current caring responsibilities;
  • to explore the meanings that participants attach to filial piety as well as probe the extent to which they subscribe to the cultural values.

The methods of the study are in-depth semi-structured interviews, purposive sampling technique, reflexive thematic analysis.

Findings to date:

Focus group findings (under review):

  • Mainland Chinese younger generation might face barriers when accessing support to care for their parents within their cultural environment. These barriers may arise from cognitive dissonance between balancing traditions and reducing tensions experienced by caregivers when fulfilling Xiao.
  • Mainland Chinese younger generation appeared to operationalise the concept of Xiao idiosyncratically, which could be a stressor to future caregivers if their individual construction does not fit with societal expectations.

Literature review findings:

  • Sources of stress for caregivers of older relatives in mainland China are caregiving time, financial resources, role and personal strains, preparedness, social roles, lack of adequate formal support, and coped by adopting problem and emotional focused strategies.
  • Findings underscore the significance of adequately capturing intricacies around caregivers’ unmet needs, rather than generalising on the basis of culture.
  • Need to adopt qualitative studies to provide better understanding of the relationship between stressors, coping and resources afforded to caregivers by their cultural environment.


  • Bífárìn O., Quinn C., Breen L., Zhang, B. & Oyebode J. Intersections between the Chinese Culture Xiao (孝) and Caring for Older family relatives: The Perspectives of Millennials & Generation-Z. (under review)
  • Bífárìn O., Quinn C., Breen L., Wu C., Ke M., Yu L., & Oyebode J. (2021) Stressors and coping mechanisms of family caregivers of older relatives living with long-term conditions in mainland China– A scoping review of the evidence. Ageing & Society, (in press)
  • Bifarin O., Oliver E., Oyebode J., & Liu Y. (2020). Supporting Family Caregivers to Care for Parents Living with Dementia: the Experience shared from United Kingdom on specialized dementia care. Chinese Nursing Management, 20(9): 1285-1291.
  • Bifarin, O. and Jones, S. (2018) Embedding recovery-based approaches into mental health nurse training. British Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 7(5), pp 234-240.
  • Bifarin, O. (2017) Reinforced therapeutic alliance: The way forward in nursing practice. British Journal of Mental Health Nursing. 6(2), pp. 95-100.
  • Bifarin, O. and Stonehouse D. (2017) Clinical Supervision: an important part of every nurse’s practice. British Journal of Nursing. 26:6, 331-335. DOI:
  • Bifarin, O. and Stonehouse D. (2016) Moral distress: recognition and prevention for support worker. British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, 10(11), pp 546-549. DOI:
  • Bifarin, O. (2016) Professional Socialization: The art in mental health nursing practice. British Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 5(5), pp. 228-231.

Opinion piece

  • Hazel, L. and Bifarin, O., 2020. 'Empowerment For Mental Health Nursing Beyond Covid-19' | Nursing Times. [online] Nursing Times. Available at this link.

Conferences and presentations

  • British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference 2021. University of Lancaster. (upcoming)
  • British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference 2020. University of Bristol. (Abstract in print) - Conveyed a symposium: Generational attitude to ageing and caregiving: Event cancelled due to COVID-19
  • University of Bradford School of Allied Health & Midwifery Virtual Zoom Conference, 2020
  • School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership R&KT event. University of Bradford, 2020

What impact do you hope your study will have?

  • To aid the provision of specialist support services for caregivers of older people in mainland China: integrated health and social care services in China providing sensitive care, which focus on improving experiences of family caregivers of older relatives, care recipients and respecting meanings associated with filial piety on individual basis.
  • To enhance discourse around culturally competent care in developed countries, with the hope of influencing trainings and hiring processes.

Partners and funding

  • Academic partners/collaborators/non-academic partners: China Medical University, Shenyang, China.; Chinese PI: Prof. Liu Yu
  • Funding: Research England: Quality Related Global Challenge Research Fund (QR-GCRF).