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Communal Orientation, Benefit-finding, and Coping among Young Carers

A substantial body of research documents the impact of informal care on adult caregivers' wellbeing, but little is known of the experiences of young carers who attend postsecondary schools in Canada. Despite the estimated 1.25 million young people ages 15–24 assuming caregiving roles in Canada, young carers are a hidden and largely unsupported demographic in Canada. To gain a better understanding of young caregiving in Canada, the current study explores the role of communal orientation, benefit-finding, life satisfaction, and family satisfaction among young student carers. Further, we examine the mediating role of diverse coping strategies to better understand how communal orientation may be associated with wellbeing. One hundred and thirty-seven participants were recruited from two Canadian universities, and data were collected through online surveys. Results showed that while communal orientation and the use of coping strategies were positively associated with benefit finding, communal orientation was negatively associated with life satisfaction and family satisfaction. Use of instrumental support mediated the association of communal orientation with benefit finding. The findings suggest a communal orientation may help young carers find benefit in the caregiving role by enhancing the use of instrumental support coping strategies. 

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Type of Reference
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Journal article
Taylor & Francis
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Child & Youth Services
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