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The experience of young carers in Northern Ireland : a study of the factors which contribute to, or challenge the resilience of young carers

This qualitative research study focuses on the lived experiences of young carers in Northern Ireland with the purpose of increasing awareness of the factors and processes which contribute to or challenge their resilience, as a means to inform regional policy, service design and practice and, to add to the theoretical understanding of resilience. After giving consideration to the numerous theoretical perspectives on resilience, the study identified the relevance of context, self-identity and social ecology as central tenets to exploring the resilience of young carers and the need to move beyond what might be considered a snapshot approach in order to develop a more holistic understanding of their lives. In total, twenty two children and young people drawn from eighteen households across Northern Ireland participated in the study; aged between eight and eighteen years, they were accessed via Barnardo's Young Carers Project and Action for Children Young Carers Project. Each young carer took part in one semi-structured interview which lasted approximately one hour. While the individual familial contexts in which young carers were located tended to be quite disparate, most were involved in the provision of informal care to a parent and/or a sibling. The findings generated by the research were later analysed using thematic analysis. The overall findings of the study suggest that the factors which promote or challenge the resilience of young carers are contingent and multidimensional and involve processes which interact to produce shifting patterns of resilience over time. The study concludes by suggesting that there is no universal set of factors which can be considered to protect all children and that rather, as a concept, resilience is best regarded as a means by which to identify protective and risk factors associated with particular groups of children and young people who share a common identity including that of young carer.
Date January 2016
CreatorsMcGibbon, Marlene
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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