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    Adolescent young carers who provide care to siblings

    Brolin, Rosita ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8797-7591, Hanson, Elizabeth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7609-4822, Magnusson, Lennart ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2028-6213, Lewis, Feylyn ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2306-8182, Parkhouse, Tom ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6773-5376, Hlebec, Valentina ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3691-7959, Santini, Sara ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4705-4631, Hoefman, Renske ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4533-2562, Leu, Agnes ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5451-837X and Becker, Saul ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7643-5903 (2024) Adolescent young carers who provide care to siblings. Healthcare, 12 (3). 316. ISSN 2227-9032

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    Abstract

    A child’s disability, long-term illness, or mental ill-health is known to affect siblings’ health, social life, school engagement, and quality of life. This article addresses a research gap by its focus on young sibling carers and the impact of providing care to a sibling. A cross-national survey study was conducted in 2018–2019 (Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK) to examine the incidence of adolescent sibling carers, the extent of care they provide, and their self-reported health, well-being, and school situation. The survey was completed by 7146 adolescents, aged 15–17, and 1444 of them provided care to family members with health-related conditions. Out of these, 286 were identified as Sibling Carers and 668 as Parent Carers, while 181 had both sibling(s) and parent(s) with health-related conditions, and thus were identified as Sibling–Parent Carers. Sibling Carers and Sibling–Parent Carers carried out higher levels of caring activities compared to Parent Carers. They reported both positive aspects of caring, such as increased maturity, and negative aspects, such as mental ill-health, impact on schooling and a lack of support. To reduce the negative aspects of a sibling carer role, it is important to recognise them and to implement early preventive measures and formal support.

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