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Early caregiving experiences and the impact on transition into adulthood and further life: a literature review

Internationally, there is a growing body of knowledge about young carers, but there is a lack of research about their experiences in later life and about how their caregiving responsibility influences their transition into adulthood and affects them in their future life. The aim of this literature review is to present the experiences of young adult carers in the phase of life in which many decisions are made for one's own life as an adult. In addition, the retrospective perspective of former caregivers will be described, too. Thirteen studies, published in English or German, were included after critical appraisal. Of these, six focused on the phase of transition and seven gave their attention to the retrospective. The analysis was performed explorative in line with the Grounded Theory Method. The findings of the literature review provide insights into the family situations at the time of caregiving and into the tasks of former young carers. They also impart the positive and negative effects. Former young carers assumed responsibilities they did not want to take over. They often took on the parental role. In retrospective, especially older female siblings felt that they had to change roles, often taking over the mother's role. In this role, they sometimes felt overwhelmed and left alone. Adult former carers feel mentally less healthy and insufficiently strengthened due to the long-term care or support they have given. But there are also positive effects pointed out by former young carers. Many of them are distinguished by outstanding social skills in adulthood. They feel well prepared for life through the care experiences and appreciate the practical skills they have learned. The results of this literature review show that the caring experiences influence the life of former young carers and determine their further life course.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
John Wiley & Sons
Publication Year
Journal Titles
Scandinavian Journal Of Caring Sciences
Volume Number
Online early view