‘Positive and negative impacts of caring among adolescents caring for grandparents. Results from an online survey in six european countries and implications for future research, policy and practice’

Author(s): Sara Santini, Marco Socci, Barbara D’Amen, Mirko Di Rosa, Giulia Casu, Valentina Hlebec, Feylyn Lewis, Agnes Leu, Renske Hoefman, Rosita Brolin, Lennart Magnusson, and Elizabeth Hanson
Publisher: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Year Published: 2020
Resource type: Peer Reviewed Research Article


This first large-scale international study examined an under-researched group of young carers across six European countries. These represent young adolescent caregivers aged 15-17 years. The authors aimed to assess whether young adolescents caring for their grandparents have different outcomes than those caring for other family members. The online survey included four sections. The first section included demographics. The second section included questions about the impact of caregiving on education and whether they use any support. The third and fourth sections included open ended questions about young carers’ emotions and difficulties. It also asked them to suggest any improvements to their supports. A total of 817 adolescent young caregivers completed this survey. Results showed that those who cared for grandparents and those who cared for other family members spend similar time on their caregiving activities. They also scored similarly on their health-related quality of life. Overall, those who cared for their grandparents experienced more positive outcomes across all six countries (e.g., becoming closer to family, learning useful things). Those who cared for other family members reported higher negative outcomes (e.g., feeling stressed, lonely, upset, sad, exhausted). Overall, those who identified as female, non-binary, and had a migration background reported more negative outcomes and health problems. Finally, the more hours one spent on caregiving, the worse outcomes and health problems they reported.

Citation:Santini, S., Socci, M., D’Amen, B., Di Rosa, M., Casu, G., Hlebec, V., Lewis, F., Leu, A., Hoefman, R., Brolin, R., Magnusson, L., & Hanson, E. (2020). Positive and Negative Impacts of Caring among Adolescents Caring for Grandparents. Results from an Online Survey in Six European Countries and Implications for Future Research, Policy and Practice. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(6593), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186593

Keywords: Adolescent young caregivers, grandparents, intergenerational relationships, older people, online survey, negative caregiving outcomes, positive caregiving outcome

Where the data was collected: Online survey in Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom