Two large national datasets were used to examine the educational attainment, employment, mental and physical health, social participation and personal relationships for young people who provide unpaid care.
We looked at differences in these areas for young people if the person they care for is receiving services compared to not.
The analysis looked at children and young people providing care for adults.
The HSE is an annual cross-sectional survey in which there is an extensive social care module of questions. The survey includes questions on whether or not unpaid care is provided, the number of persons to whom care is provided, the number of hours of care provided, the type of tasks performed. Carers are also asked about formal social care supports received by the person they care for and impacts of caring on opportunity for employment. The question on receipt of services by the care-recipient is asked of co-resident and extra-resident carers. There are also questions in the HSE on perceived physical and mental health and educational attainment. The social care module was asked of individuals aged 16 and over so we will include young people between the ages of 16 and 25 in our analyses. Combining data from 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 provides data on 354 young carers.
Our analysis looked at the relationship between support for the person cared for and young carers outcomes. The outcomes were self-perceived physical and mental health, educational attainment and employment; measures of each will be modelled as the dependent variable using multivariate regression. The key independent variable was the presence or absence of support from formal social care. Additional independent variables were the hours of care provided, the type of task for which care is provided, the presence or absence of other unpaid care support, as well as demographic information.
The SCH sampled from households in England. It contains data on the demographics of carers, the intensity of their care provision, the tasks involved and the self-reported impacts of caring of the respondents. The sample includes carers age 16 and over. Carers were also asked about the formal services received by the person cared for. There are 119 carers between the ages of 16 and 24 in SCH.
Our analysis was similar to our analysis of the HSE. One key difference is that the SCH has questions on the impact of caring on social participation, relationships and quality of life – important outcomes for young people. These self-reported measures, answered as yes/no, were used as dependent variables in logistic regression models with similar independent variables as above.
We collected new data through questionnaires to identify the need for social care support for young adult carers from ages 16 to 25. We also collected information from the person being cared for to understand their social care needs and their ability to purchase that care privately.
The survey asked about experiences of giving help and support to adult family and friends who could not manage without that support. This is sometimes called ‘being a carer’ or ‘providing care’.