Understanding of Young Carers’ Experiences in the COVID-19 Pandemic
The present study was part of a larger longitudinal project that aimed to shed light on experiences of young people providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario. During Spring-Summer of 2021, four female participants, 22-24 years of age, participated in semi-structured interviews and completed “Daily Diary” surveys for the following seven days. The study presents the findings of reflexive thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006, 2021) of interview transcripts and descriptive report of the diaries data. Five themes were elicited from analysis of the interviews: (1) Unique Experiences of Caregiving, (2) Young Carers’ Mental Health, (3) Young Carers Need Caregiving Supports, (4) Family Relationships in the Caregiving Context, and (5) Envisioning the Family Future. The findings suggest that pandemic-related restrictions added a burden to young carers’ well-being and limited their access to caregiving resources and supports. Implications for stakeholders and suggestions for future research are outlined in the discussion.