A school-based cross-sectional study to understand the public health measures needed to improve the emotional and mental wellbeing of young carers aged 12-14 years

Richard Sharpe, Natalie Russell, Rebecca Andrews, Whitney Curry, Andrew James Williams

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Abstract

The emotional and mental wellbeing of young carers is known to be poorer than their peers. Data from a large cross-sectional school survey of 7,477 12 to 14 year olds (72% response rate) living in Cornwall, South West of England were analysed to assess whether existing school-based interventions support the wellbeing of young carers. Outcome measures were derived from the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing scale (SWEMWBS) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Young carers experienced greater emotional and mental wellbeing problems than their peers. Being eligible for free school meals did not attenuate these higher needs, indicating that broader support than financial measures are needed such as Education, Health and Care Plans which were associated with higher mental wellbeing among young carers. Early community and school-based interventions that consider the complex needs of young carers, especially emotional wellbeing are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-271
Number of pages19
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Society
Volume12
Issue number2
Early online date17 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

Keywords

  • Young carers
  • Emotional problems
  • Mental health
  • Free school meals
  • Education, health and care plans

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