‘The prevalence of young carers- a standardised survey amongst school students (KiFam-study)’

Author(s): Sabine Metzing, Thomas Ostermann, Sibylle Robens and Michael Galatsch
Publisher: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Year Published: 2020
Resource type: Peer Reviewed Research Article


Internationally, an increasing number of studies are examining young carers. Usually
the studies use qualitative methods (e.g., interviews and focus groups) to learn about who these children are, what they do, and whether caregiving impacts their lives. Past studies have also found varying prevalence rates in different countries; however, we have yet to know what the prevalence rate of young carers in Germany is. Back in 2015, German Federal Ministry of Health called for a prevalence study to gain a better understanding of young carers locally. Therefore, this study sought to fill in this gap by creating a quantitative survey that explores the prevalence of young carers as well as examine the nature and extent of their tasks and motivations for help. The authors implemented the survey in the local schools, in the most populated federal state in Germany. They approached students in grades 5-13. A total of 6313 students (aged 10-22 years) completed the survey. The results showed that the prevalence of young carers was 6.1%. Their average age was 14 years and 64% identified as girls. They most frequently cared for their mothers. They most often reported that they cared because it was their family or because they wanted to. Young carers reported to complete more tasks than non-young carers. Notably, a quarter of them stated to help with personal hygiene and some with intimate care. The authors noted that this was a potential concern given their young age and future implications.

Citation: Metzing, S., Ostermann, T., Robens, S., & Galatsch, M. (2020). The prevalence of young carers – a standardised survey amongst school students (KiFam-study). Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 34, 501-513. https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.12754

Keywords: Chronic illness in the family, cross-sectional studies, minors, pupil, school survey, young carers, young caregivers

Where the data was collected: North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany