Young people who care for a family member with physical or mental health problems: Can research better reflect the interests of young carers?

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

Over the past two decades many nation-states, including Australia, have seen an increasing number of children and young people providing primary care for a family member with mental or physical health problems. This chapter examines existing research and argues for a new approach to conducting research with young carers that can better serve their interests. It is argued that most young carer research derives from the construction of children in Western society as innocent, partially competent and vulnerable and, as a consequence, has predominantly been adult designed, adult led and conceived from an adult perspective, and hence largely reflects adult-centred interpretations and agendas. This chapter discusses this socially constructed nature of childhood in terms of a Foucauldian-type genealogy and the roles of developmental psychology and the psy-complex, which are brought together with a children’s rights perspective to propose an approach to research that can develop a young carer’s standpoint. This approach involves collaborating with young carers in the development of the research design, methods, issues to be examined and the analysis, and providing them with the opportunity to stipulate their own terms of participation. The chapter concludes with brief reflections on a research project, based on the above considerations, which sought to work collaboratively with young carers in rural Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRevaluing care in theory, law and policy
Subtitle of host publicationCycles and connections
EditorsRosie Harding, Ruth Fletcher, Chris Beasley
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter6
Pages81-96
Number of pages16
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781315672663
ISBN (Print)9781138943193
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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