Carers are increasingly important in providing help and support to people with a health condition or who have trouble with everyday activities. Children and young people who provide care (“young carers”) are an often overlooked but important group of carers. Young carers are a particularly difficult group to recruit and retain in large scale longitudinal population studies. There have been very few longitudinal studies of young carers thus far and most of the previous research has been cross-sectional. There has also been very little exploration of inequalities in the effects of being a young carer to look at whether associations differ by gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic circumstances.
The aim of this project is to investigate the long-term prospects of young carers across the UK in terms of health, wellbeing and social participation, and whether gender, socioeconomic and ethnic inequalities are present. This aim will be addressed using UK-wide longitudinal studies. These include the three Census-linked longitudinal studies – the ONS Longitudinal Study (ONS-LS), the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) and the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS). By using the E-dataSHIELD method we can combine estimates from all three studies without physically combining them.
This study will allow us to build a picture of inequalities in associations between being a young carer and health and social participation across the UK.