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Use of Parental Disability Trajectories to Identify Adolescents Who are Young Carers
Journal of Youth and Adolescence  (IF5.625),  Pub Date : 2022-05-20, DOI: 10.1007/s10964-022-01627-z
Tania L. King, Marissa Shields, Martin O’Flaherty, Anne Kavanagh, Matthew J. Spittal

Being a young carer can have significant impacts on the lives of children and adolescents. Identifying young carers is difficult, making the provision of support challenging for service providers. This sample contained 4464 Australian children/adolescents across 11 years (49% female, aged 6/7 years at baseline, and 16/17 years at final wave). Group-based trajectory modeling was applied to examine parental disability trajectories across 5 waves of data collection. Associations between estimated trajectories and unpaid/informal caring at age 16/17 years were then assessed. Three trajectory groups were identified: consistently-low (80%), low-increasing-high (10%) and moderate-high (10%) levels of parental disability. There was strong evidence that caring was elevated in the low-increasing-high group compared to the consistently-low group, and moderate evidence of elevation in the moderate-high group. By identifying adolescents with increased odds of becoming young carers, this study shows that parental disability may be an important way for service providers to identify and support young carers.