The Psychosocial Impact of Caregiving on Young People Who Have a Parent With an Illness or Disability: Comparisons Between Young Caregivers and Noncaregivers

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ObjectiveTo investigate the psychosocial impact of young caregiving by empirically validating prominent qualitative themes. This was achieved through developing an inventory called the Young Caregiver of Parents Inventory (YCOPI) designed to assess these themes and by comparing young caregivers and noncaregivers.MethodTwo hundred forty-five participants between 10 and 25 years completed questionnaires: 100 young caregivers and 145 noncaregivers. In addition to the YCOPI, the following variables were measured: demographics, caregiving context, social support, appraisal, coping strategies, and adjustment (health, life satisfaction, distress, positive affect).ResultsEight reliable factors emerged from the YCOPI that described the diverse impacts of caregiving and reflected the key themes reported in prior research. The factors were related to most caregiving context variables and theoretically relevant stress and coping variables. Compared with noncaregivers, young caregivers reported higher levels of young caregiving impact, less reliance on problem-solving coping, and higher somatization and lower life satisfaction.ConclusionsFindings delineate key impacts of young caregiving and highlight the importance of ensuring that measures used in research on young caregivers are sensitive to issues pertinent to this population.

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