Are Young Carers Less Engaged in School than Non-Carers? Evidence from a Representative Australian Study

Myra Hamilton, Gerry Redmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Evidence suggests that young carers are less likely to complete or do well in secondary school compared with young people without caring responsibilities. Positive engagement at school is an important correlate of school outcomes, yet quantitative evidence on the factors contributing to young carers’ school engagement is lacking. Drawing on the results of a national school-based survey of Australian children aged 8–14 years (N = 5220) in which about 9% of the sample identified as carers (N = 465), this paper compares the school engagement of non-carers, young carers of a family member with disability, and young carers of a family member with a mental illness or using alcohol/drugs. The analysis shows that school engagement of young carers of people with disability is not significantly different from that of non-carers, but school engagement among young carers of people with a mental illness or using alcohol/drugs is significantly lower. Among this latter group, young carers who are themselves with disability report particularly low levels of engagement. The study concludes that improved support focused on young carers of people with a mental illness or using alcohol/drugs is needed to improve their school engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-49
Number of pages17
JournalChild Indicators Research
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Marginalisation
  • Mental illness
  • School engagement
  • School outcomes
  • Young carer

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