Families, Relationships and Societies
An international journal of research and debate

A school-based cross-sectional study to understand the public health measures needed to improve the emotional and mental wellbeing of young carers aged 12 to 14 years

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  • 1 Cornwall Council and University of Exeter Medical School, UK
  • | 2 Cornwall Council, UK
  • | 3 University of St Andrews, UK
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The emotional and mental wellbeing of young carers is known to be poorer than their peers. Data from a large cross-sectional school survey of 7,477 12 to 14 year olds (72 per cent response rate) living in Cornwall, South West of England, were analysed to assess whether existing school-based interventions support the wellbeing of young carers. Outcome measures were derived from the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Young carers experienced greater emotional and mental wellbeing problems than their peers. Being eligible for free school meals did not attenuate these higher needs, indicating that broader support other than financial measures are needed, such as education, health and care plans which were associated with higher mental wellbeing among young carers. Early community and school-based interventions that consider the complex needs of young carers, especially emotional wellbeing, are needed.

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