‘Resilience amongst young carers: investigating protective factors and benefit finding as perceived by young carers

Author(s): Gemma Gough and Anthea Gulliford
Publisher: Educational Psychology in Practice
Year Published: 2020
Resource type: Peer Reviewed Research Article

Summary:

While many studies have explored who young carers are, what they do, and the extent to which the caregiving role can impact their lives, not all experiences are negative. Some young carers value their caregiving role and others even benefit from it. Thus, it is important to see how young carers can be resilient and grow from this caregiving role. This study’s purpose was to identify the factors that can make young carers adjust well to their role and to investigate what benefits they get from being young caregivers. The authors did this in two phases. First, they conducted focus groups with young carers in a program that supports them in the UK. They found many factors that helped them adapt to their caregiving role, as well as benefits and positive outcomes from their role. The authors explored these three topics further: self-efficacy, social support, and school connectedness. It was clear that young carers were aware of the hardships, but also expressed inner strength and abilities to cope with it. They valued social support and having people who help them within and outside their family. Finally, being connected to school was
very important to enhance resilience. Some young carers valued school because it gave them a space to escape to and have a break from their caregiving role. In the second phase, the authors created a survey to get more information about their demographics and caregiving context, as well as explore whether these factors relate to their mental well-being versus difficulties and benefits. Quantitative results showed that self-efficacy, school connectedness, and social support
were all related to mental health. In other words, the higher young carers reported on these factors, the better their mental well-being was and less self-reported difficulties they had. Similarly, self-efficacy and school connectedness was related to benefits, except for social support. This meant that young carers who have school connectedness and especially self-efficacy would be more likely to cope well and adjust to their caregiving role.

Citation: Gough, G., & Gulliford, A. (2020). Resilience amongst young carers: Investigating
protective factors and benefit-finding as perceived by young carers. Educational Psychology in
Practice, 36(2), 149-169. https://doi.org/10.1080/02667363.2019.1710469

Keywords: Young Carers, Resilience, Benefit-finding, Protective Factors

Where the data was collected: United Kingdom