Profiling young carers' lives: An examination of individual, family, and social contexts
Young carers (YCs) who provide prolonged care for ill, disabled, or addicted family member(s) face a tremendous risk for negative developmental trajectories when remaining hidden (Charles, Stainton, & Marshall, 2009; Charles, 2011; Cass, 2007). Despite a growing recognition of YCs, understanding how providing care impacts a young person is not fully understood. The present study aimed to investigate circumstantial, family, and individual factors which may be associated with YCs’ caregiving role. By comparing YCs to a normative sample, a comprehensive YC profile was formed. A secondary comparative analysis was conducted on 124 YCs (72 females and 52 males, Mage = 12) and a normative sample (n = 124) matched on YCs’ age, gender, and number of siblings within the family. Unique attributes of the YC population were discussed, thereby creating a YC profile. Future research may be able to use this profile to promote identification and recognition of YCs.