Caregivers are a diverse group of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and roles; however, research has widely overlooked young adults in this population. This study investigated young adult caregiver circumstance, burden, and use of support services with the purpose of improving future caregiving research and interventions. Study 1 compared burden and circumstance among young, middle aged, and older adult caregivers (N = 285) in addition to developmental indicators among young adults caregiver and demographically matched non-caregiver peers (n = 225). Study 2 surveyed caregivers from each age group (N = 151) on barriers to care, treatment preferences, and interest in services. Results from study 1 indicated that young adult caregivers adopted similar caregiving roles and factors linked to burden; however, they reported additional stressors such as higher rates of childcare and commuting to provide care. Compared to demographically matched-peers, young adult caregivers were more likely to work part-time and earn a substantially lower yearly income. Study 2 replicated original findings and revealed that young adult caregivers endorsed elevated attitudinal barriers to care and are the least likely age group to speak to physicians about caregiving. Overall, findings reveal the similarity in caregiving role that young adults take on, as well as several unique burden factors. Caregivers across age groups disclosed moderate treatment expectancy for support services, and all reported greater interest in online-based treatment. Young adult caregivers were more likely to take on responsibilities such as childrearing and employment, thus impacting their available time and financial support. However, these findings do not explain the overwhelming lack of young adult caregivers in research. Future studies should re-evaluate sampling methods and inclusion criteria, or explore more accessible means of intervention, such as web-based services.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
James, Nicholas, "Young Adult Development and Caregiving: Disposition and Involvement in Care" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5844.