‘Young Carers research, practice and policy: An overview and critical perspective on possible future directions’

Author(s): Stephen Joseph, Joe Sempik, Agnes Leu, and Saul Becker
Publisher: Adolescent Research Review Journal                                                                                                                                                          Year Published: 2020
Resource type: Peer Reviewed Research Article


This article reviews the literature on young carers and highlights where new directions for policy and research are needed. Literature on young carers evolved over the last 25 years and today, young carers represent a global phenomenon. However, because of their differences around who they care for, what they do, and for how long, it is still very difficult to define who they are. Moreover, despite some similarities in positive and negative impacts from caregiving, it is difficult to create policies that support young carers. The authors recommend reshaping our understanding of young carers. First, we must look at people who even minimally help someone with some tasks. Those will be deemed as young people who “care about”. Second, we must look for people who “care for”, which include those who do much more specified jobs around the house, but do not get negatively impacted from doing these tasks. Third, we must look at people who take on caregiving duties beyond what they are capable of and therefore are stressed and negatively impacted by them. Tasks here involve professional/specialized level of care. The authors suggest to further explore who young carers are nationally and internationally. They urge researchers to evaluate positive impacts too. They want to see more quantitative studies that would follow young carers over time to truly see what impacts caregiving has on their lives. Finally, the authors advocate for more participatory action research with young carers, by involving them in research processes and policy developments.

Citation: Joseph, S., Sempik, J., Leu, A. & Becker, S. (2020). Young Carers Research, Practice and Policy: An Overview and Critical Perspective on Possible Future Directions. Adolescent Research Review, 5(1), 77–89. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40894-019-00119-9

Keywords: Young carers, Prevalence, Research, Theory, Policy, Interdisciplinary

Where the data was collected: Review of literature from many countries worldwide.