An examination of the experiences of young people who care for a family member experiencing physical or mental health problems in Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A substantial and increasing number of children and young people provide primary care to family members experiencing physical and mental health problems. Much past research on young carers has been dominated by a focus on negative outcomes and based on adult-centred interpretations and agendas. This paper describes qualitative research which aimed to give young carers a voice to tell their own stories about their experiences in order to develop a more complex and young person centred account. The research involved in-depth semi structured interviews with six young people from Australia who identify as primary carers. Although the young carers described significant difficulties, the findings of this study challenge the dominant ‘negative’ paradigm of young carer research. Most of the young people were positive about their experience, which they reported stems from a strong sense of family connectedness and reciprocal support provided by parents. Significantly, additional difficulties emerged, imposed on young carers through the impact of problematic social constructions of ‘normal’ young person, carer, and disability, which are manifested in negative attitudes and treatment of young carers and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-37
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Community Psychologist: The official journal of the APS College Of Community Psychologists
Volume26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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