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Caring Lives: What do young people who care for family members need to thrive? An empirical investigation.

Janes, Edward 2022. Caring Lives: What do young people who care for family members need to thrive? An empirical investigation. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Research over the last thirty years has studied the lives of children who care for family members due to an illness or disability. The research has often highlighted the substantial roles and inappropriate responsibilities of a small population, but there is an increasing recognition of young carers as a larger population with broader experiences. The mixed methods research design included a realist synthesis that enabled the development of a model of young carers’ health and wellbeing and increased clarity concerning why the impacts vary depending on individual circumstances. This initial model was refined by using innovative methods within young carers research to target gaps in knowledge. Structural equation modeling enabled longitudinal analysis of young carers in comparison to children without caring responsibilities, while a longitudinal phenomenology studied young carers who were unknown to services alongside those accessing support. A key result to emerge was the extent to which young carers felt in control of their caring responsibilities, and threats to this control were also identified. Positive support from family, friends, community and services had the potential to mitigate the impacts of reduced control, though poor-quality support could exacerbate the negative effects further. The impacts of caring and quality of support together informed the development of a positive or negative caring identity. A model is presented of a young carer spectrum with multiple tiers differentiated on the basis of control. The needs of young carers in each tier are considered, including those who are broadly able to manage their responsibilities, those with reduced control, and those with elevated needs due to particular aspects of their caring, and recommendations are made for the support of each group. Additional recommendations concern the need for research to reflect the full young carer spectrum, and for a greater focus on service evaluation to inform provision.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 May 2022
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 01:30

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