Exploring the Self Concept of Young Carers
Boddy, Kimberley Dawn
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The aim of phase one was to explore the self-concept of young carers and to identify school staff awareness regarding young carers. Eleven young carers (aged 11 to 14) participated in a single session involving a self-concept activity and a demographic questionnaire. The self-concept activity was designed to elicit salient aspects of self in the form of twenty statements. These statements subsequently formed a card sorting exercise to identify which statements were most important to the young carer, and considered positive or negative. Through thematic analysis, salient aspects of self were identified, which included reference to individual traits, interests, competencies, social relationships and family, as well as to helping and the caring role. Statements related to traits and family were found to be most important to young carers. Statements regarding traits and competencies were identified as most positive. 39 school staff respondents completed a questionnaire on defining young carers, internal and external support and perceived effectiveness in supporting young carers. Descriptive statistics were used and analysis was carried out on these data. School staff demonstrated a basic awareness of young carers although some inconsistencies regarding knowledge of the young carer experience still remain. School staff provided detail of internal and external support but felt they could still be more effective in supporting young carers. The findings from young carers and school staff are discussed in relation to relevant literature and strengths and limitations of phase one have been noted. In phase two, five young carers participated in three focus group sessions, seeking to identify valued support. Thematic analysis identified key areas of support that are summarised in an information booklet for school staff. The findings are discussed in the context of relevant literature and strengths and limitations of phase two are identified. An overall discussion situates the research in a wider context, reflecting on future directions for research and implications for educational psychologists.
DEdPsy in Educational, Child and Community Psychology