The Moral Resilience of Young People Who Care

Boyle, Geraldine (2020). The Moral Resilience of Young People Who Care. Ethics and Social Welfare (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17496535.2020.1771606

Abstract

This paper draws on findings from a qualitative study of the social wellbeing of young people caring for a close family member. The research makes a novel contribution to the international literature by examining the moral resilience of young adult carers. Focus groups or individual, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with fifteen young people in South-East England during 2018–2019. The paper explores whether young people with a seriously ill or disabled family member define and conduct themselves in moral terms and how they respond to the moral challenges of a caring life. It was found that the participants saw moral value in their caring role and their actions reflected a desire to provide compassionate care. Previous research into young adult carers had indicated that the caring role stimulated their political consciousness, but this study suggests that the role also strengthens their moral consciousness. However, designating girls as carers in early life shifts the moral responsibility to females and compounds gender inequity in caring. Hence, there is a need to address social and gender inequalities in care. In addition, healthcare professionals should recognise when statutory input is necessary to facilitate young people’s broader lifeplans.

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