Young carers : self-image and psychological well-being amongst adolescents with a care role
2014-05-01T14:25:23Z (GMT) by
The main aim of this study was to determine whether adolescents who were caring for a parent with a chronic health problem or physical disability were experiencing problems with self-image and psychological health. The research aims were twofold: (1) to examine whether adolescent carers differed on key variables, namely self-image and anxiety and depression, when compared with age-related peers without a care role and (2) to explore whether there were differences between adolescent carers according to parental physical or mental health condition. The study was based on 121 male and female participants, comprising 61 adolescent carers and 60 participants without a care responsibility for an ill or disabled parent. Results suggest that there are a number of important differences between adolescent carers and age-related peers, the former showing a greater tendency to perceive their family and social relationships more negatively, in addition to a poorer overall self-image. Depression and anxiety scores were also higher amongst teenagers with a care role. Finally, care-giving in the context of a chronic mental health problem created higher scores on depression than for adolescents whose parent's had a physical illness or disability. No significant differences were found between levels of anxiety in the two sub-groups of carers. The findings are discussed in relation to the implications of a care role upon adolescent development. Areas for future research, service delivery and clinical intervention are suggested for this relatively uninvestigated carer population.